Canadian fall customs through a different lens
The norms we follow for these few weeks are both wonderful and confusing
by sonali currie, contributor
Fall is a beautiful season in North America, and more so for the maple-leaf country of Canada. The changing of colours in the leaves from green to golden has an unexplainable charm and warmth to it. While there are numerous traditions and celebrations around this time of the year in Canada, here is my take on what these fall norms mean to someone who is an immigrant to Canada experiencing them.
For a person new to this country, it takes quite a bit of practice to start using the term fall instead of autumn. The term fall is more common to North America than it is to the rest of the world. The confusion surrounding the terminology gets sorted as newcomers engage in day-to-day conversations. With time they adapt to which months comprise fall and how fall gradually leads to winter.
It is a tricky time for dressing up, as it is neither as warm as in summer nor freezing like in winter. For their first fall in Canada, many individuals are fooled by the sunny weather and clear skies, and they dress like it is summer in the morning only to scamper back into their apartments for a warmer piece of clothing. Fall allows people to wear everything that they thought would be too hot for summer, and so it turns out to be an incredible time for fashionistas.
For some countries, pumpkin is consumed as a vegetable or soup on a regular basis. Other references of the usage of the pumpkin would be Hollywood Halloween films. It is interesting to immigrants to see Canadians be so excited about pumpkin and its flavours in an entirely different way. It does not take long though for newcomers to get hooked on pumpkin pies, pumpkin-flavoured coffee, and pumpkin puree yoghurt among many other pumpkin flavoured options.
It is a wonderful Canadian tradition to come together and celebrate Thanksgiving. While many cultures around the globe have gestures and traditions to be thankful, there isn’t an entire day dedicated to it. Halloween too is a fun time for many newcomers to Canada, as it is like witnessing Hollywood’s Halloween films in real life. These celebrations are also an opportunity for immigrants to gradually participate and assimilate in Canadian society.
The significance of the Orange Shirt Day and its slogan, Every Child Matters, has touched people living coast-to-coast. It is a day that has raised awareness and support from all sections of the society. For immigrants, it is an excellent way to familiarize themselves about the history behind this movement, what it is, and the relevance it will hold for them moving forward in the future.
No one knows exactly when the leaves will turn orange and how quickly they may disappear with a strong gust of wind. For people witnessing their first fall, there is child-like happiness in clicking photos with an orange background. It is quite a bit of work to find that beautiful fall-themed tree in the neighbourhood. This perfectly orange-leaved landscape in Regina lasts about a fortnight before they drop to the ground, making it even more exciting to be a part of while you can.
While everyone has their favourite season and reason behind it, fall would be a strong contender in that category. It is a distinct season with its colours and feel, and above all a subtle expansion of the summer-like feel, before winter starts creeping in. Although it may be fast and fleeting, it is certainly a season for everyone to enjoy.