Longing for May

I’m going to go out on a limb and start this post off with a blanket statement: everyone loves civic holidays. People who get the day off with full pay know there’s nothing better than making money while you sleep in. And for those who are employed in hourly positions, getting paid time and a half (or more) to do what you would normally do is always a good thing. Even the self-employed benefit from an easy commute to work and long weekend deals at bars. See? It’s a win-win-win!

In Canada, the most longed-for and anticipated of all civic holidays is undoubtably the long weekend in May. Getting New Years Day off is a nice bonus, and the August long weekend is guaranteed to be hot, but nothing beats May’s Victoria Day holiday because it’s the unofficial start of summer…or at least full-fledged spring.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Occurring on the last Monday before May 25th, Victoria Day has been observed in Canada since before Confederation to honour Queen Victoria’s birthday. The holiday is colloquially known as either “May Long” (because it’s the May long weekend) or “May Two-Four” (because it falls on or near May 24th each year, and also because “two-four” is Canadian slang for a 24 pack of beer…which is a common way to while away the holiday).

So why do Canadians wait until nearly the end of May to concede that winter isn’t a 365/366 day curse? Because even though spring officially began in the northern hemisphere this year on March 20, no one told Canada that. In most of the country the threat of snow lasts right up to the middle of May…and beyond. I’ve lived through snow storms in every single month of the year in Alberta, so you never really pack away your winter clothes just to be sure you don’t jinx the weather. Here’s an example of a mid-April storm that Calgary had just last month:

But by the time May Long rolls around, you can be fairly sure it’s safe to dust off the BBQ, take the winter tires off your car, start planning your summer vacation, and finally plant a garden (keeping sheets handy to cover the flowers of course, in case there’s frost overnight).

So here’s to May Long! May it bring you warm weather, cold beer, and concrete evidence that summer is just around the corner.

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