If this is your first year living in Canada, you might never have heard about Victoria Day, one of the most important holidays in the country, and also one of the oldest ones. Victoria Day is celebrated since Queen Victoria was the Queen of England and its colonies, between 1837 to 1901.
But what is the holiday’s history and how is it celebrated in Canada? Keep reading and find out!
Why is Victoria Day celebrated in Canada?
Victoria Day is the date when the country celebrates the Queen’s Day or King’s Day, according to the ruler in power in the United Kingdom. For those who don’t remember, Canada is a constitutional monarchy and is part of the Commonwealth Realms linked to the United Kingdom.
Queen Victoria’s birthday has been celebrated in Canada since her reign (from 1837 to 1901). Originally, the celebration was held on the date of her birth: May 24th. After Canada’s Confederation (the act that united the British colonies on Canadian territory on July 1, 1867), Victoria Day continued to be celebrated on May 24th, unless the date fell on a Sunday, in which case the holiday was moved to Monday, May 25th.
In 1952 it was established that Victoria Day would be celebrated on the Monday before May 25th. In the United Kingdom, Queen’s or King’s Day is celebrated in June, a tradition that began with King George II in 1748.
Outdoor activities, fireworks, and beer
A national holiday, Victoria Day is also known as May Long Weekend (or just May Long). It is the start of the outdoor season when Canadians bid farewell to the cold weather of winter. On this day, one of the most expressive celebrations occurs in Victoria, a city in the province of British Columbia, named after the British Queen, who organizes a big parade through the city. In Ottawa, Canada’s capital, fireworks mark the date during the Canadian Tulip Festival.
Victoria Day is even informally called May Two-Four Weekend, in a double meaning: besides 24 being the day of Queen Victoria’s birth, the number refers to a beer package that contains 24 bottles or cans. Since it is the beginning of the warm season and an extended holiday, it is also an invitation to drink more beer with family or among friends.
But if you can’t be with your loved one during this holiday, you can send them a gift and help them celebrate in their home country. With Western Union Canada’s app, you can send money to more than 200 countries and territories fast and easily. Check out our Terms & Conditions.