May 22 – Victoria Day in Canada

Posted on May 22, 2017

Note: This is not an annual holiday that falls on May 22 every year. Instead, it is held on the Monday preceding May 25.

It's the unofficial end of winter and start of spring / summer!

In Canada, Victoria Day is the signal that the warmer season has begun. People often open their summer homes; amusement parks start their summer hours; gardeners dig into the kinds of tasks that you can only do when there is little danger of frost.

This holiday sometimes goes by other names such as May Two-Four or May Long. The explanation is that Queen Victoria's birthday was May 24, and Canadians often have a long weekend (or 3-day weekend) in her honor. 

In Quebec, residents celebrate National Patriots' Day instead of Victoria Day (but also on the Monday preceding May 25). This day honors the 1837 rebellion against the political realities of the then-British colony - even though the rebellion neither started nor stopped in May. Quebec residents celebrate with marches, fireworks, speeches, concerts, and award ceremonies. i suppose it isn't a huge surprise that French Canada isn't making the day's holiday mostly about the former British queen.

But, I gotta tell you, I don't think the English-speaking portion of Canada does too much Queen Victoria-oriented stuff, either. They're too busy opening their summer homes and going to amusement parks!

Queen Victoria was, however, a force to be reckoned with. Here are some Queen V. numbers:

18 - age at which Victoria inherited the throne
9 - the number of children Victoria had
63 - the number of years Victoria reigned (!)
81 - age at which Victoria died

An entire age was named after Victoria, so we are always talking about Victorian morals and Victorian Art, Victorian Christmas and Victorian culture, Victorian fashion and Victorian literature... 

Of course thousands of places have been named Victoria, as well, including Africa's largest lake, the capital of British Columbia, Canada, one of Australia's states, and what is perhaps the most amazing waterfall in the world.

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