We鈥檒l forgive you if you don鈥檛 know the words to 鈥淥 Canada.鈥 The national anthem for our neighbors in the north is sung at Canadian sporting events and in schools across the country, but by and large, Canadians are as reserved about their聽anthem as they are about, well, everything.

Reserved as they may be, Canadians are definitely passionate. Thanks to a letter-writing campaign, the country鈥檚 Senate has pushed through a new law that will turn Canada鈥檚 national anthem into a gender-neutral ode to the nation.

Trudeau Cookie Moulin de Provence Ottawa

鈥淥 Canada鈥 was originally a gender-neutral聽poem聽written by French-speaking聽Quebeckers as an alternative to 鈥淕od Save the Queen,鈥 the British national anthem which Canada, a British Commonwealth, had been using too. Throughout various iterations, 鈥淥 Canada鈥 remained gender-neutral in both English and the original French until, somewhere down the line, one lyric was changed. The changed version of the poem is what became the nation鈥檚 official anthem in 1980.

The previous gender-specific line, 鈥渢rue patriot love/in all thy sons command,鈥 will now be sung as, 鈥渢rue patriot love/in all of聽us command.鈥 Many Canadians, including author (and聽The Handmaid鈥檚 Tale聽creator) Margaret Atwood, are thrilled about the change.

Canada鈥檚 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his support for the passing of the bill on Tuesday night, mentioning a former member of Canada鈥檚 Parliament who had spent his career working towards making the anthem more inclusive. Now, some are hoping that the anthem鈥檚 pivot back to a gender-neutral lyric will help get one other problematic lyric changed in future.

The opening of the song, as it was written, goes: 鈥淥 Canada/our home聽and聽native land.鈥 Some scholars and activists are hoping to change that lyric to: 鈥O Canada, our home聽on聽native land,鈥 in recognition of the nation鈥檚 indigenous聽population whose ancestors vastly predate European settlers. The country has committed itself to correcting centuries of neglect and abuse of Canada鈥檚 first people, and the hope is that the gender-neutral lyric switch has paved the way to changing the anthem鈥檚 opening line as well.

What do you think about Canada鈥檚 anthem switch? Tell us @BritandCo!聽

(Photos via Ottawa Tourism + Getty)