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!  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.  This year, it is today, Monday, May 20, 2019.

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!

[courtesy onhold.on.ca]

** 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]

 

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

  1. lydiaschoch
    May 20, 2019 at 6:33 am

    I’d never heard of Victoria Day being called Firecracker Day before. How interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 20, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      Oh had you not, Lydia? I wonder if it was even more regional than “Southern Ontario”; perhaps it was in my little area. We sure did look forward to “Firecracker Day”! 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 20, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Happy Victoria Day … from and for my Canada friends!! … ‘he 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”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 20, 2019 at 6:55 am

    All that’s missing is some Timmies and some timbits 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. May 20, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Happy Victoria Day to you!

    Like

  5. May 20, 2019 at 8:36 am

    Happy Victoria Day to you Cher! Enjoy the memories

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Ah, thank you so much, dear Eddie! Blessings to you, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. May 20, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I knew right away what day you are talking about. I remember the whole Quebec -vs- the world politics years ago. Maybe Quebec should chip themselves off, float down the Saint Laurence to the Atlantic? Happy Victoria Day to you Cher!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      *grin* I’ll bring my polite Canadian self to the forefront here and not say anything, John! 😉 Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 20, 2019 at 4:31 pm

        Hope I didn’t offend? 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 20, 2019 at 7:37 pm

        No worries at all, John! 🙂 xo

        Like

  7. May 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    two holidays = two birthday cakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 20, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Now that is my kind of thinking, John! I have a huge, HUGE weakness for birthday cake and especially frosting (icing). 😉 Cher xo

      Like

  8. May 21, 2019 at 11:20 am

    In Alberta, the May Long is for gardening! It is generally considered safe to plant outdoors because the danger of frost is past. It may also involve a 2 4, or wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 21, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Ah yes, the Albertan May Long with wine accompaniments! *biggest grin* Thank you, my dear and I hope the planting and ‘wine-ing” were successful! ;=) Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. May 22, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Thanks. In spite of all the political nonsense in Canada, US is the worlds political clown! Canadians seem somehow to find the humor and sense to survive. I consider CANADA our NORTH STAR beaming bright with hope. Don

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      Well I think being the North Star is absolutely perfect, Don! Thank you! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

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