Happy Victoria Day……Who’s That, You Say?

Victoria Day

[photo courtesy bing.com]

[this is my annual Victoria Day post; I do hope you don’t mind that I bring it back each year with a tiny tweak here and there]! 

Ah yes, Happy Victoria Day!  Tomorrow 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.  This year, it is tomorrow, Monday, May 21, 2018.

Aspirin[photo courtesy 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”:

[courtesy Askideas.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 as my Prairie folks are, 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 keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk]

It also means this:

May 24 Bob and Doug MacKenzie

[photo courtesy 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 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 Mum 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.

Mum 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!!

[courtesy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiT-EMlRaM8]

  6 comments for “Happy Victoria Day……Who’s That, You Say?

  1. May 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve never understood precisely why Quebec wants to leave Canada so badly. Just because they believe the French language is better? I remember the big attempt in the news some years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Hi John! I have some theories, but I’ll just say that it has deep-seeded roots in the founding of Canada and the different cultures of the French and English people. Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I like that – May two four…24 beers lol! Wishing you a wonderful celebration!! Happy Victoria Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Hi Indah! Isn’t it funny? LOL That’s right! Ah, bless! Thank you so much! Cher xo

      Like

  3. May 20, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Oh Canada! 🍁

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

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