Posted in Writing Life

*Victoria Day

Here in Canada this is a long weekend. It’s Victoria Day, which is a stat holiday, and about which I’ve always been vague. People light fireworks and plant gardens and that’s about all I knew about it. Some years it was cold, some years mild, but by Victoria Day you could be pretty sure that frost was over, though due to climate change that point is pretty much moot.

My kids are even vaguer about Victoria Day. My 8 year old, who is working on a one room schoolhouse for the pioneer days unit, knows that Queen V’s pic and a Union Jack hung inside, but had some uncertainty as to the origin of the flag and the queen’s sovereignty. She suggested America. (Can we spell cultural hegemony?)

After we went over that, I googled Vicky’s Day and discovered that it began as a celebration of her birthday and continues as the official birthday of the reigning monarch. The official birthday has, at times, wandered away from Victoria Day on the calendar, with more or less proximity to the actual birthday of the reigning British monarch (kind of like Jesus’ birthday), but it is once again the Monday on or before May 24th.

Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth! Thanks for the holiday.

Oh and in Quebec–it’s National Patriots’ Day. Have a good one!

Queen Victoria, teen queen, on the day she came to the throne
Queen Victoria (right) and Princess Beatrice


Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

6 thoughts on “*Victoria Day

  1. Hi Lillian. We’ve experienced the holiday question in the U.S. as well. I decided a few decades ago that on holidays it would become a tradition for us to discuss what we knew. At first, everyone was like, dah! Then they got wise and looked up the holiday on the net, so they’d be prepared. Thanks for sharing this lovely post of Queen Victoria’s Day.

    1. Bonnie, thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. I love the picture that is the header for your blog, and I can identify with the quote underneath. I get called to my books. Sometimes I’ve resisted the call, sometimes it takes me a while to hear it clearly, but I get there in the end because nothing else works until I do.

  2. We have a Queen’s Birthday public holiday here too… I’ve always assumed the Queen in question is Lizzy, but maybe it’s the Big Vic… either way I too am very vague about the entire thing, and still shake with shame recalling our failed referendum about becoming a republic. Thank you, John Howard.

  3. May I take this as a personal holiday for me? That would be quite cool. Alas, the UK does NOT have a Victoria day, which is clearly a big oversight! 😉

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