Happy Victoria Day…….What’s That, You Say??

Victoria Day

This is a repost of what has become my annual, “Victoria Day” post.  I hope you enjoy it, no matter your location on the globe! 

– photo courtesy of bing.com

Ah yes, Happy Victoria Day!  Today is Victoria Day in Canada; however, not in the Province of Quebec.  I shall not endeavor to get into the political complications as to why this is so, except to say its underpinnings fall heavily upon the shoulders of the English/French settlement of Canada.

Okay, now that I have that out-of-the-way, let’s take a look at why (most of) Canada has this holiday.

The holiday is to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, monarch of Britain; it began on her birthday, May 24th, 1854, when she was 35 years old.  The holiday was referred to as the, “Queen’s birthday”.  After her death in 1901, a law was passed to refer to the holiday as, “Victoria Day”.  Now, at this point I certainly could not blame you if you are thinking, okay, there it is then, the holiday as it is today! Aha! Much more complicated than that!  There is this little piece of legislation that, in 1904, also made the same date, “Empire Day” throughout the entire British Empire (Canada included of course).  “Empire Day” is now called, “Commonwealth Day”; it’s held in March and celebrated in various commonwealth countries in different ways.  It’s not a public holiday, nor is it well-known (I can see the Canadians shaking their maple leaf heads at me:  “What is it?”).

Back to the Queen, as it were.  Along the way, the holiday was moved to the Monday preceding May 25th.  Wait! There’s more holiday mayhem!  To include celebrations for the reigning sovereign’s birthday at any given time, yet another day was added to accommodate even more flag waving and birthday cake eating, as far as I can see.  Of course this date was changed over time. Why could they not pick one date for everybody’s birthday and have a big ‘ol hootenanny?

And unless things have changed in the past ten minutes, which they could very well to be sure, Victoria Day and the, “Queen’s birthday” (wait until there is a King at the helm, then we’ll all be in for it) are on the same day.

Aspirin– photo courtesy of bing.com

Do you need one of these gargantuan aspirin after reading all of this holiday happenstance? Be my guest, I’ve got plenty!

The holiday has a different moniker in various regions of Canada.  When I was growing up in very British Southern Ontario, we called it, “Firecracker Day”:

Victoria Day Fireworks

– photo courtesy of 1057ezrock.com

When I moved from Ontario to Manitoba many moons ago, Victoria Day wasn’t celebrated with fireworks; not only was I surprised, I was disappointed.  I asked people what the holiday was called.  Practical and to the point, my Prairie folks are, as they simply call it, “May Long Weekend”.  What a unique and notable idea! Ah, but then I would be remiss if I did not tell you what the folks back in Ontario (besides my term of “Firecracker Day”) call this birthday celebration of the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history:  May Two-Four Weekend.  This term has a double entendre:

It does, of course, mean this:

May 24 sign

– photo courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

It also means this:

May 24 Bob and Doug MacKenzie

– photo courtesy of  somegoodadventure.com

Beer in Canada (especially in Ontario) can be referred to as a, “two-four” when you buy, oh I don’t know, a box of 24 beers!  Ah, how things have changed.  Here is how Queen Victoria’s birthday was celebrated in Toronto in 1859:

Victoria Day Free Bread 1859

– photo courtesy of torontopubliclibrary.ca

Free bread! How can you go wrong with that?  Hhhhmmm, wait a minute.  Do you see a theme going on here? Beer and bread both have:  YEAST! I know, perhaps one day Victoria Day will be celebrated with plums!

** Here’s a little addendum.  My Mom just read this post and she asked me if I remember this little song from childhood:

The 24th of May
is the Queen’s birthday
If we don’t get a holiday
We’ll all run away.

Mom remembers singing it when she was a child.  So we’ve got free bread, beer, and a holiday! Wow!

Happy Victoria Day, May Long Monday Day, May Two-Four Weekend Day, and good ‘ol Monday!  Beer, bread, or both, enjoy the day!!

  9 comments for “Happy Victoria Day…….What’s That, You Say??

  1. May 22, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Love this!! I recall the big hoopla several years ago when Quebec was attempting to get itself out of Canada, I still believe that would be a bad thing for the province. Perhaps they should chip the province loose then float down the Saint Lawrence then to France? 😜 By the way, I knew what Victoria Day is!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

      I will most definitely get in touch with my Canadian politeness on this one, John! Oh did you? Well I am impressed you are familiar with Victoria Day! Well done! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 22, 2017 at 11:40 am

        I didn’t mean to be mean Cher, sorry. It just seems so illogical to separate from the rest of Canada. Just one old American man’s two cents right! i lived in Ontario for two years during the 1980’s and loved it. Canadians are a bit more friendly than Americans…

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 22, 2017 at 12:01 pm

        Oh my dear you weren’t being mean at all! Let’s just say it is one of Canada’s old and “interesting” bones of contention. LOL. Are you sure you weren’t born in Canada, John? You are exhibiting the cultural Canadian politeness!! Biggest grin!! xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        I’ll take that as a great compliment Cher!! I’m polite by nature, love to help strangers and chat with them too. Having lived in Canada for two years several years ago, I feel the attachment and loyalty to a people I loved living among and respect very much. My ex wife found it interesting that I’d hum the Canadian National Anthem occasionally!

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        Ah, Bless! I am making you an honorary Canadian, John! I think that is awesome! Yeay! Cher xo


  2. May 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Sounds like a great holiday to me!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Happy, happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you, my fellow Chicagoan! Cher xo


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