HAPPY VICTORIA DAY, WHO’S THAT, YOU SAY? (MAY 23, 2022)

[courtesy canva.com]

[This is my annual Victoria Day post; I do hope you don’t mind that I bring it back each year with a few changes 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 Canada’s English/French settlement.

Okay, now that I have that out of the way, let’s 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 she died in 1901, a law was passed to refer to the holiday as “Victoria Day.”  Now, 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.  It’s not a public holiday or 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 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 23rd, 2022.

Aspirin[photo courtesy bing.com]

Do you need one of these gargantuan aspirin after reading about 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:

[courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/pin/1125968641607242/%5D

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?  

 

[courtesy: https://spoonuniversity.com/

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

On 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 ‘on Monday!  Beer, bread, or both, enjoy the day!!

[courtesy officeholidays.com]

[courtesy cbc.ca]

 

  34 comments for “HAPPY VICTORIA DAY, WHO’S THAT, YOU SAY? (MAY 23, 2022)

  1. May 23, 2022 at 8:56 am

    I’ve lived in Canada for years now and am still confused by Victoria Day. Haha!

    You did a very good job of explaining it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 23, 2022 at 9:08 am

      Hi Lydia! Hahaha Well I am glad I could shed some light on it! I know a lot of people who feel confused about it! Thank you, Lydia! Cher xoxoxo

      Like

  2. May 23, 2022 at 9:17 am

    Happy Victoria Dsy. A most interesting write xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 23, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Happy Victoria Day, Cher! I have never heard of the backstory of this complicated holiday. So, Canada is still a part of Britain in some way? I wish the States were… Free bread and beer sounds so wonderful! 🇨🇦❤️🇨🇦

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2022 at 7:28 pm

      Why thank you, John! Yes, Queen Elizabeth is the head of state for Canada (and the Commonwealth countries.) However, it is primarily a figurehead role, and she doesn’t get involved in any of Canada’s politics.

      LOL YEs, free bread and beer, eh? LOL Thank you, my friend! Cheers! Cher xoxoxo

      Like

  4. May 23, 2022 at 10:19 am

    Happy Victory Day Cher, and since you mentioned it,
    big hugs for a Happy Birthday too!! Eddie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. May 23, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Very interesting, Miss Seaangel. At the risk of offending all my distant cousins still living in Quebec, I wish your a happy Victoria Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Don! Now, I didn’t know you had distant cousins in Quebec! Thank you, Don! Cher xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 24, 2022 at 9:11 am

        On my mother”s side athere was a migration from Quebec to MN. My mother is a Perron and I am told that Perron in Quebec is as plentiful a name as Anderson in MN.

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 28, 2022 at 7:20 pm

        Was she, Don? Well that is very interesting indeed! I’m familiar with the name, as there is quite a large population of Francophones in Manitoba, Don! Thank you for telling me about this!

        I am part Norwegian; the other is Scottish. Although I am Canadian, my great-grandmother was born in St. Paul, MN (Norwegian side.) Thank you, Don! Cher xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  6. May 23, 2022 at 1:26 pm

    Happy May 2-4, eh! We enjoyed lots of fireworks around our neighbourhood last night.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 23, 2022 at 7:31 pm

      Happy May 2-4 to you too, eh! Thank you, Michelle! Oh, were there? It’s always nice to look up and see numerous fireworks at the same time, isn’t it? Cher xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. May 23, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    Both she and Albert were amazing folks from what I’ve read. Certainly more useful that many of their descendants!

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 23, 2022 at 7:32 pm

      Now JT, I am thoroughly impressed that you knew that about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert! Well, there’s that about some of them, isn’t there, JT? Thank you! Cher xoxoxo

      Like

      • May 23, 2022 at 8:09 pm

        I studying Victorian lit in college. They were responsible for an amazing explosion of talent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 28, 2022 at 7:12 pm

        Did you, JT? They certainly were! That’s so cool, JT! Cher xoxoxo

        Like

  8. May 23, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    An interesting story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 23, 2022 at 7:34 pm

      Why thank you so much! It certainly provides for some rather head-scratching moments, doesn’t it? Cher xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 24, 2022 at 7:58 am

        My wife grew up in the bush of Northern Alberta. No fireworks there either!! :>)

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 28, 2022 at 7:16 pm

        Did she? LOL You made me literally laugh out loud! Thank you! Cher xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 28, 2022 at 8:24 pm

        Yes… forty five miles from the nearest paved road!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 30, 2022 at 10:51 am

        Now that is the definitely of the back woods of Alberta if I’ve ever heard one!!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. May 24, 2022 at 2:31 am

    Yes!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 28, 2022 at 7:13 pm

      Agreed, David! Thank you! Cher xoxoxo

      Like

  10. May 24, 2022 at 6:32 am

    Happy Victoria Day Cher…
    I was in Canada 22 years ago upon this very same date.. And loved my time exploring your wonderful country. 😊 🇨🇦🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 28, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      Why thank you so much, dear Sue! Apologies on my tardiness replying. Did you? Ah, bless you, Sue! Thank you so much, and I’m sending lots of love and light to you across the miles! Cher xoxoxo

      Like

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