• Victoria Day and Memorial Day—Observing Traditions and Welcoming Summer

    Vicky Laflamme
    Holiday weekends are approaching, with Victoria Day coming up here in Canada on May 21. Are you ready?

    According to Wikipedia, “Victoria Day (in French: Fête de la Reine) is a federal Canadian public holiday celebrated on the last Monday before May 25, in honor of Queen Victoria’s birthday. The date is also, simultaneously, that on which the current reigning Canadian sovereign’s official birthday is recognized.”

    And Aglobalworld.com notes that “Official protocol on Victoria Day dictates that the Royal Union flag must be flown from sunrise to sunset on all federal buildings, airports, military bases and any crown owned property throughout the country. Several cities hold parades, Victoria, British Columbia being the most prominent.”

    Just a little further south in the United States, Americans observe an annual holiday that falls one week later this year on Monday, May 28. According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day was formerly known as Decoration day, with roots tracing back to the American Civil war, originally observed to commemorate fallen soldiers.

    Canadians and Americans across North America count the days for these official holidays that traditionally kick off summer.

    And now, the first of the two official long weekends of the summer is upon us. Canadians far and wide are packing up their cars to head to cottages, local beaches, or campgrounds to embrace the wonderful, albeit too short, summer months.

    Next week, a similar pilgrimage to fun and relaxation will happen throughout the United States, marked with barbecues, picnics, and outdoor activities.

    These weekends also bring out the gardeners … nurseries are full of people who have patiently waited to put in their annuals. And, according to traditions in days gone by, women can now officially wear their ‘white’ shoes!

    Many of the cottage communities throughout Canada mark the holiday weekend with community garage sales so that cottage owners can find that one last treasure (or toaster!) that they need to complete their cottage castle.

    Sadly this year I will miss the celebrations in my home country of Canada. Instead, you will find me on a cruise ship sailing from beautiful San Francisco to Vancouver! I will have to leave the garage sales for another time.

    Do you have any travel plans for the holiday weekend? Or any annual traditions you take part in? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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