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 January 2009 - Nr. 1
Happy New Year from Echo Germanica
The edior: Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

Dear Reader

It is hard to believe, but we made it into another year. Not everyone on this planet is lucky enough to look forward to the coming month. War and hardships are apparent in many places and many a Christmas was not a merry one.

We lost friends and family to illnesses more often than to old age. The news of financial doom nearly scared us out of our wits until we realized that it does not have to be all gloom and doom. Wise men always have told us: There is opportunity in all situations. In the very least we can learn something.

All the best for the New YearOne thing we have to learn is to stick together more closely. We need to support one another more, be kinder to each other, and help each other more. There is nothing to be gained by running off in to an individual corner, trying to wait out whatever it is that is ailing us. Above all we need to communicate with each other better to discover what it is that is needed and wanted most to be able to carry on and make the best of our situations. I am tempted to use a phrase from the sixties and seventies as a metaphor: Make love, not war. Perhaps we need to try and correct each other’s weaknesses rather than resent them. Perhaps we need to point out when something is amiss instead of turning away, pretending it has nothing to do with us. A little less apathy and a bit more passion would look good on all of us.

This last season I heard a lot about the lack of the word Christmas in our lives. This is very odd indeed, because more people celebrate Christmas in Canada than any other festivity with a religious background. An Angus Reid survey had as a result that 94% of the people they surveyed were celebrating Christmas, 3% were celebrating Hanukkah, and just less than one half % (0.3) would be celebrating Kwanzaa.

I think that is reason enough to insist that we are to wish each other a Merry Christmas and not a happy holiday. There is no need to be careful or apologetic. Since this is a democracy and we are in the majority it is perfectly all right to insist on our rights to celebrate Christmas openly without having to hide it.

And how do Canadians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Half of us rang in the New Year with a smaller party or get together at someone’s house. Two in ten (22%) treated it like any other night, 9% watched Dick Clark’s countdown on TV, 5% went out dressed to the nines to go out big time, and 3% actually started the New Year with a real bang, like banging pots and pans together or lighting fireworks.

And what did you do?

We spent the night at the German Canadian Club Hansa and had a marvellous time! There is nothing like good food, good music, good and comfortable company and that glass of champagne at the right time. The toasting, hugging and kissing and well wishing after midnight does not hurt either. It creates a real moment of togetherness and makes for a very good start into the New Year.

We followed it up the next day with a Salute to Vienna in Roy Thomson HallHappy New Year! and were very happy to have such diverse experiences to ring in the New Year.

We wish all of you only the best of health and success in the New Year. Let us make the best of it.

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.

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