Everybody loves a holiday weekend and few people complain about getting an extra day off work or school. While I’m not suggesting we revisit the need for holidays, Victoria Day is one that makes you question the purpose.
We know Victoria Day as “May long weekend” and the official kick-off to summer. That’s it. Anybody telling me the vast majority of Canadians see this day any different is delusional.
I’m not going to lie: I slept until noon (I usually wake up at 10:30ish on Mondays) and had a cocktail in the yard before taking the dogs on two walks and barbecuing chicken in the backyard. Did the name “Queen Victoria” enter my head at all on Monday? For a brief moment while writing this — and only then.
The British Monarch has been in the news a lot lately. Is it still relevant? Was it ever? What happens when Queen Elizabeth II dies? More importantly for most people: Will we get a holiday? By all accounts we will, but do you really think a large percentage of people will pay tribute to the Queen that day? Maybe the first year, sure. But after that? I don’t think so.
Remembrance Day was a moment in Canadian history that prompted the nation to hit pause and reflect on the men and women in uniform who serve/served the country. Now, it’s passable for businesses to operate with reduced hours and have a moment of silence before continuing as a regular day on the calendar. (Not that I’m hugely patriotic, but this one bothers me.)
On Easter, my mom grumbled about stores being open on such a “special holiday.” She noted “that it’s not right” people work that day. I challenged her, saying it’s a religious holiday that not everybody celebrates. If people choose to work because they don’t recognize the day, we shouldn’t feel sorry for them.
Over 20 years ago, I recall it being scandalous, at least in my mom’s opinion, that my brother worked his shift at a video-rental store (remember those?) on Christmas. At the end of the day, it was my brother’s choice because money talked and he was paid extra to work on a holiday.
With the renaming of holidays in recent years — the traditional “August long weekend” or “Civic Holiday” now called Terry Fox Day — it made me wonder if holidays should be more general in nature if they speak to certain groups, for instance, religious beliefs.
Why not swap out the name but keep the date on the calendar so that they’re more inclusive? People already choose to do what they want on the holiday so who cares what the “meaning” is? Heaven knows we can’t have anyone or any group singled out and favoured, right?
I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before Canada’s holidays are re-evaluated.