Monday, 21 February 2011

All Holidays are Made Up

I had a typically enlightening conversation with Older Son early this afternoon. I inquired of him if he was feeling lonely on this Family Day given that our family was scattered across the continent. In a response that was very much in keeping with his pragmatic yet sarcastic nature, he stated that it was difficult to get emotional about a holiday that was barely three years old, an invention of our provincial government to bless us with downtime during the miserable month of February, and-as he correctly reminded me-we have yet to be together as family on this day. It set off a discussion between us that began with the basic premise that all holidays are works of fiction no matter how engrained they have become in our culture. They are either remembrance days formed out of religious mythology, anniversaries of great events or birth dates, or simply an excuse to stay in pyjamas, watch DVDs, and eat junk food all day. (As I am currently in the southern home I must state that holidays down here seem more inclined to be celebrated by pushing me to buy bed linens, cars, or electronics all in the name of dead presidents.) Whatever the excuse, I can find less worthy things to commemorate than family. That said, I do offer up a few alternatives that I do believe are long overdue in being labelled statutory holidays. Apologies in advance to my Yankee friends and readers in that I can only go by what I know, and most of that is Canadian.

  • I believe, my fellow Canucks, that the time has finally come to celebrate the birthday of our first Prime Minister, Sir John A MacDonald. We Canadians are often accused of our complacency and derided for our lack of patriotism. How can we debate such mendacities when we can't even claim a national holiday for our Father of Confederation? Good old John A even had the decency to be born in January, a month sorely in need of a long weekend. Rally 'round the history books folks and strike a blow for our founding father.
  • While Family Day is becoming a nice and most welcome diversion in February, perhaps a more fitting day to celebrate might be Flag Day. Our distinctive red maple leaf was officially adopted our country's flag on February 15th, 1965. Doesn't Flag Day have a nicer and more logical ring to it than Family Day? Once again patriotism should win out.
  • Queen's Birthday. For 150 years we have been marking the May 24th birthday of Queen Victoria. Victoria was our reigning monarch for an astounding 64 years. Our current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for an almost nearly astounding 59 years. She was born in April, but observes her official birthday in May. Why not call it Queens Day and honour both of these impressive women.
  • Tax Freedom Day!!! Last year, Tax Freedom Day arrived in Canada on June 5th-a full three days later than the previous year. For the uninitiated, Tax Freedom Day is the day when most people stop working in order to pay their taxes and start working to pocket whatever they earn for themselves. An auspicious occasion to be certain. Shouldn't we do a happy dance for a long weekend in June and celebrate by spending our new found wealth on ourselves?
  • Thanksgiving in Canada is observed in October. I take no issue with this harvest festival except to note that it does leave November, a dreary month to be certain, curiously lacking a long weekend. Maybe we could have American Thanksgiving as well? Many of us stay home to watch the parade and football games now as it is, we might as well have the tofurkey too. 
Those are a few of my ideas. Add your own if you wish. Otherwise, I hope you all had a Happy President's Family Day. 

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate it being Family Day! As a teacher, I appreciate being able to now spend some time celebrating and discussing "family", and safely ignoring Mothers Day and Fathers Day, which are fraught with pain for so many of my students.