It’s here, finally! Victoria Day is one of my favorite three-day weekend holidays because it normally signifies in Canada that Spring is officially here and Summer will be starting soon. And for some, it means dusting off and firing up the barbeque : )
But what does this holiday really mean? Some say it’s the beginning of the Summer season, others say it’s about celebrating the Queen Victoria’s birthday. Sure, but who is she and why do we Canadians and Scots celebrate this weekend? Also, why do my people from Quebec celebrate Journée nationale des patriotes instead of Victoria Day? Let’s find out below!
Click here to find out in a nutshell what this holiday is about.
Click here for the Wiki article on the Victoria Day Weekend.
Click here for the Wiki article on Queen Victoria herself
Click here for the Quebec holiday, National Patriots’ Day
Summary of Queen Victoria and The Royal Union Flag
In a nutshell, there was a woman named Queen Victoria and her birthday was on May 24, 1819. Exactly 200 years ago! Apparently, on Queen Victoria’s 35th birthday, around 5000 Canadians from the West surrounded the Government House, which is now located on King and Simcoe streets in downtown Toronto, Ontario and celebrated their Queen who reigned in the United Kingdom for over 63 years!
The Royal Union flag or the Union Jack flag is supposed to be installed up on flagpoles from sunrise to sunset at all federal government buildings.
In a lot of cities across Canada, festivals are held and some places have parades and fireworks at night time. Take a look at this video that shows a Victoria Day parade in the Queen’s namesake city, Victoria in British Columbia in 2017.
Who Was Queen Victoria?
Other than firing up the BBQ and beginning the summer festivities, it’s a day to remember that Queen Victoria was “a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.” –Wikipedia, 2nd paragraph
Apparently, her father’s brothers had all passed on and since there was no son, the throne belonged to her at the age of eighteen. Imagine being in control of a nation at that young of an age?
Growing up, she was not allowed to play with other children. Her education involved learning various languages although she only spoke English at home. Her mother was very protective of her, probably because she had other siblings who passed on at a very young age.
Although she was Queen at such a young age, she wasn’t married until later. Here’s a quote about her husband Albert whom she wedded on February 10th 1840:
“I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!” –Wikipedia, Section 4: Marriage
She was known to be a great leader and was able to observe and consider all sides especially when it came to the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Read about that here.
In my opinion, I believe Queen Victoria’s story is a great role-model for girls to read about and look up too.
Quebecois Celebrate Journée Nationale des Patriotes
Most of Canada celebrates Victoria Day, but in Quebec, they have a different holiday Journée Nationale des Patriotes. Back in 2003, the Premier of Quebec Bernard Landry said the reason to celebrate was:
“to underline the importance of the struggle of the patriots of 1837–1838 for the national recognition of our people, for its political liberty and to obtain a democratic system of government.”
–Wikipedia, Section: Introduction
Also known as National Patriots’ Day, the people of Quebec celebrate it with festivities that are very similar to Victoria’s Day. They have parades, firework shows, and outdoor activities as well.
To learn more about National Patriots’ Day, click here.