Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Victoria Day (Fête de la Reine) is a Canadian Statutory Holiday celebrated on the Monday on or before May 24 in honor of Queen Victoria's birthday. In Quebec it is referred to as National Patriotes Day (Journée nationale des patriotes), which commemorates the English-Canadian and French-Canadian Patriotes of the Rebellion of 1837.
May 24 has since 1901 been celebrated throughout the British Empire as Empire Day. An amendment to the Statutes of Canada in 1952 moved the holiday to the Monday preceding May 25. From 1953 Empire Day was made the date of the Queen's official birthday in Canada by annual Vice-regal proclamation, the link being made permanent in 1957. In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day.
In 1977 Commonwealth Day was moved to the second Monday in March, but Canadians continued to celebrate Victoria Day in May. In Canada, this holiday and Canada Day are celebrated with fireworks, though Victoria day is a decidedly lower-key event. Monarchist groups often use Victoria Day as a day of celebration, but to the majority of Canadians the day is simply a holiday off from work, with little specific meaning.
This is the first of the summer long weekends in Canada, and is known colloquially as "May two-four weekend". The phrase has two meanings, the first, of course, is the fact that it usually falls around May 24, and secondly, those who celebrate will often get together to drink beer (a two-four is a case of 24 bottles of beer.) Note that the holiday may be referred to as "May two-four" even if it falls as early as May 18.
There has been some debate in recent years about revamping Victoria Day, and giving it a new name or meaning, such as "Heritage Day" or "Citizenship Day." There have also been proposals alongside a revamping to move the date and have it always concurrent with the U.S. Memorial Day, which usually falls seven days later, for a common long weekend. This is especially favoured by businesspeople with close ties to the U.S.
See also Commonwealth Day.
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