Tuesday, February 23, 2010

O Canada
With the Olympics on, and the great showing, I had a question about the Canadian national anthem, "O Canada." Aside from the "Star Spangled Banner" this is the national anthem I know the best. As a hockey fan, I have often heard it before a US team played a Canadian team.

I've actually heard it so often I pretty much know it by heart. The English version, anyway. Here are the lyrics:
O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

If you're interested, here are the French lyrics:
Ô Canada!
Terre de nos aïeux,
Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux!
Car ton bras sait porter l'épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
Et ta valeur, de foi trempée,
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits
Protégera nos foyers et nos droits.

Now here is where things get interesting. Look at the translation of the French version:
O Canada!
Thy brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
As is thine arm ready to wield the sword,
So also is it ready to carry the cross.
Thy history is an epic
Of the most brilliant exploits.
Thy valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

It's a completely different song! Aside from the phrase "O Canada" (which I always thought was "Oh Canada") there is nothing in common. I wonder if it's the only national anthem where there are two accepted versions that are so different.

Oh, and if you want to impress the hell out of your family the next time Canada wins gold, sing along to the version in Inukituit:
ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ! ᓇᖕᒥᓂ ᓄᓇᕗᑦ!
ᐱᖁᔭᑏ ᓇᓚᑦᑎᐊᖅᐸᕗᑦ.
ᓇᖏᖅᐳᒍ, ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ,
ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ! ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊ!
ᓇᖏᖅᐳᒍ ᒥᐊᓂᕆᑉᓗᑎ,
ᐆ ᑲᓇᑕ, ᓴᓚᒋᔭᐅᖁᓇ!

Oh, you don't read Inkuit? Here is the transliteration:

Uu Kanata! nangmini nunavut!
Piqujatii nalattiaqpavut.
Nangiqpugu, Uu Kanata,
Uu Kanata! nunatsia!
Nangiqpugu mianiripluti,
Uu Kanata, salagijauquna!

Canada. So cool for so many reasons.

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