[This is part 2 in our "It's a Canadian Holiday!" series. Previously in this series: "It's Boxing Day!"]
What's Family Day about? Nothing. There is absolutely no significance to this long weekend in February, other than the empty label "Family".
It's a Monday where you don't have to go to work. Don't ask too many questions.
When and where's it celebrated? Family Day isn't a national holiday, but the third Monday in February is a holiday in most provinces.
Here's a breakdown:
- Alberta, Ontario & Saskatchewan: Family Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February. Alberta first invented this meaningless holiday back in 1990 as an excuse to get a day off work sometime between New Year's and Easter, and couldn't think of a better name for it than "Family Day" - the most vague, apolitical thing you can celebrate. Real bold stance there by Alberta's conservative government - "you know one thing that we're in favour of? Families. We're strong proponents of the general concept of people being born and having relatives." Saskatchewan joined the party in 2007 with their own Family Day, with Ontario adopting it in 2008.
- Nova Scotia, PEI & Manitoba: These provinces also have the third Monday in February off, except Nova Scotia calls it Heritage Day (barely a step up from "Family") and PEI calls it Islander Day (a day for honouring Mike Bossy.) Manitoba's the only province with the balls to give their February holiday a meaningful name, calling it Louis Riel Day, honouring the Métis leader who led an armed rebellion against the Canadian government before being hanged. A+ to Manitoba.
- BC: Family Day in BC is celebrated a week early, on the second Monday in February. It used to be on the third Monday in February, but they moved it to be a week earlier back in 2013, just to be special snowflakes.
- Quebec, New Brunswick & the Territories: No holiday in February. Get the fuck back to work and wait for Easter!
What do you do on Family Day? Well the first thing all Canadians do is hang their Family Day stockings, and wait for Petit Jacques, the French-Canadian Family Day Elf, to visit the-... nahhh, just kiddin', we just sit on our asses on a Monday and say "glad I'm not at my miserable, soul-sucking job today."
The ultimate irony of putting a holiday called Family Day in mid-February is that it often butts up against Valentine's Day on February 14th, as it does this year. That means that you're supposed to be putting the "Family" in Family Day by spending the long weekend with your idiot kids (boy, what an ideal time for going outside and doing fun stuff with your kids - February in Canada.) Meanwhile, you're also trying to celebrate Valentine's Day, the one goddamn day per year you're allowed to ditch your kids.
This has been a Plaidspin Canadian Statutory Holiday Reminder. We'll see you in May for Victoria Day!