Happy Birthday, North America! Canada and the US celebrate and make a long weekend out of their birthday festivities. Whether Canuck or Mercan, this week is ours.

Up for debate: do most people understand the reasons behind the long weekend?

As both countries navigate through political scandals, high inflation, and detrimental social effects this year, celebrating our nations’ birthdays takes on a new significance. It’s a time to reflect on our past, acknowledge our present challenges, and envision a better future.

Neither country has a clear path forward, yet most people worldwide would say both countries had aged reasonably well up to about 25 years ago. The last 25, not so much.

Today, I want to emphasize the significance of celebrating a country‘s birthday.

  1. Cultural Identity and Belonging: National celebrations shape cultural identity. They allow people to express their sense of belonging to a particular nation. Through festive attire, music, and traditional practices, citizens reaffirm their connection to their country’s heritage. The outcome is a strengthened bond among diverse communities, fostering mutual understanding and respect.
  2. Marking Collective Milestones: Just as personal birthdays mark individual milestones, a nation’s birthday signifies collective progress. It’s a moment to reflect on the journey—from historical events to present-day achievements. Each passing year adds to the tapestry of the nation’s story. The result is a shared narrative that can unite citizens and emphasize common values and aspirations.
  3. Unity and Pride: National celebrations have a long history of fostering unity. They bring together people from various backgrounds. Whether it’s a grand parade, a flag-raising ceremony, community events, or a backyard barbecue, these gatherings have evoked pride and a sense of togetherness in the past. The outcomes are generally a stronger sense of national identity and solidarity.
  4. Reflection and Aspiration: Birthdays prompt reflection. As a nation, we assess the past year’s accomplishments and challenges, celebrate victories, and acknowledge areas for improvement. Almost always, the result is a renewed determination and a roadmap for progress to a better future.
  5. The festivities this week symbolize resilience, growth, and our shared spirit as citizens. The apparent results and outcomes in the past included strengthened bonds, unity, and reflection. As we celebrate this year, let’s hope and intend for a return to these norms.