Calendar

Aug
29
Tue
According to Hoyle Day
Aug 29 all-day

On August 29, honor expertise, authority and the rules because it is According to Hoyle Day. Named after the English language phrase, according to Hoyle, the unofficial holiday celebrates the life and times of Englishman Edmond Hoyle, who died on this day in 1769

according-to-hoyle-day-church Celebrate According to Hoyle Day with a game of Bridge. ©iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Celebrate According to Hoyle Day with a game of Bridge.

A lawyer by trade, Edmond Hoyle is best known for publishing books detailing the rules and regulations of many popular card and board games of his time, including chess and backgammon. He is also known for writing an authoritative pamphlet on the card game of Whist.

Game of Skills

Whist is a trick card game played by two teams of two players each. The card game evolved from a previous game called Ruff and Honors and is the predecessor of Bridge. Popular in the 18th and the 19th century, the game required mathematical and logical skills.

Appeal to Authority

The phrase according to Hoyle came from the authoritative books Hoyle wrote on the rules and regulations of games. When people played these games and made a play that was questioned, they could invoke Hoyle’s rules by saying “according to Hoyle…”. Today, the phrase is used generally to suggest expertise or the highest authority on a subject matter.

How to Celebrate?

  • Play a game of Whist by following Hoyle’s rules. Don’t know how? Today is a good excuse to learn!
  • Are you an expert on a subject? Why not spend the day jotting your thought about the subject?

Did You Know…

…the word Whist comes from whisk, from whisking or moving the cards during the game?

Sep
5
Tue
Cheese Pizza Day
Sep 5 all-day

September 5 is Cheese Pizza Day, a day to indulge in a slice (or two) of the classic and simple cheese pizza.

cheese-pizza-day-church Cheese pizza may be one of the simplest kinds of pizza, but it is no less delicious. ©bigstockphoto.com/Milkos

Cheese pizza may be one of the simplest kinds of pizza, but it is no less delicious.

While the origins of this fun food holiday are unknown, we can all safely assume that it encourages people to pay homage to the humble but delicious pizza pie covered with only tomato sauce, seasonings and cheese.

Hearty Italian Dish

Italian in origin, a pizza is a hearty dish made of rolled out dough topped with tomato, cheese, vegetables or meats, which is baked in an oven before being served. It is believed that the pizza as we know it today originated in Naples, Italy. A Traditional Speciality Guaranteed product in Europe, the Neapolitan pizza is made with tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese. This means that only pizzas made in Naples can be called Neapolitan pizza in the European Union and the rest of Europe.

Fit for a Queen

Legend has it that a variant of Neapolitan pizza, the Margherita, was created by pizza maker Raffaele Esposito in 1889 to honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. The pizza represented the national colors of the flag of Italy with the use of tomato, mozzarella and basil.

How to Celebrate?

Celebrating Cheese Pizza Day, which is also sometimes known as National Cheese Pizza Day in the United States, is easy. Here are some ways to celebrate this delicious holiday:

  • Make your own cheese pizza at home from scratch. Experiment with different types of cheese. Perhaps you could try replacing the mozzarella with blue cheese, brie or some creamy goat cheese?
  • Have cheese pizza for all your meals. Start with a breakfast pizza, with feta cheese, bacon and eggs. Have a classic cheese pizza for lunch, and a gourmet cheese pizza with your favorite meat and vegetable toppings for dinner. End the day with a dessert pizza – pizza with cream cheese, chocolate and berries.
  • Visit your favorite pizza place and treat yourself to a slice or two of their cheese pizza.

Did You Know…

…that tomato wasn’t a staple addition to the pizza until the 1700s? Tomatoes only became popular with pizza lovers in Italy in the 1900s. Before that, they were thought to be poisonous and unfit for consumption.

Labour Day In Canada
Sep 5 all-day

Labour Day in Canada is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay. The day is now part of a long weekend for many Canadians.

Labour-Day Church Labour Day is a time when many Canadians can relax and unwind from work or studies. ©thinkstockphoto.com

Labour Day is a time when many Canadians can relax and unwind from work or studies.

What Do People Do?

Traditionally, Labour Day was an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions. These still play a role in Labour Day for some Canadians, but many people see the first Monday in September as an opportunity to take a late summer trip, perhaps to their country cottage, or enjoy the company of family or friends at picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to celebrate with a party or to go on a trip before school re-opens for the new academic year.

Canadian football fans may spend a large proportion of the weekend watching the Labour Day Classic matches live or on television. The Labour Day Classic consists of three games between high ranking teams in the Canadian Football League. One match is played on the Sunday before Labour Day and two on Labour Day.

Public Life

Post offices, many businesses, and many organizations are closed on Labour Day in Canada. Schools and other educational establishments are also closed, as Labour Day falls at the end of the summer holiday period. Many public transport services run to a reduced or “Sunday” service, although others may not run at all. There may be some local disruption to traffic around parades, particularly in Toronto, and some congestion on highways and at airports as people return form late summer vacations or trips.

Background

The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.

There was enormous public support for the parade and the authorities could no longer deny the important role that the trade unions had to play in the emerging Canadian society. A few months later, a similar parade was organized in Ottawa and passed the house of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Later in the day, he appeared before the gathering and promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This happened in the same year and eventually led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883.

Labour Day was originally celebrated in the spring but it was moved to the fall after 1894. A similar holiday, Labor Day is held on the same day in the United States of America. Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers’ rights. Many countries have a holiday to celebrate workers’ rights on or around May 1.

Nov
11
Sat
Remembrance Day in Canada
Nov 11 all-day

Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifices of people in all armed conflicts.

remembrance-day-church  Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifices that Canadians made in armed conflicts, including World Wars I and II. ©iStockphoto.com/James Warren


Remembrance Day commemorates the sacrifices that Canadians made in armed conflicts, including World Wars I and II.

What Happens on Remembrance Day?

Many people wear artificial poppies on their clothes in the weeks before Remembrance Day. Red poppies symbolize the memory of those who died and white poppies campaigns for non-military interventions in conflict situations. On November 11, special church services are organized. These often include the playing of “The Last Post”, a reading of the fourth verse of the ‘Ode of Remembrance’ and two minutes silence at 11:00 (or 11am). After the service, wreaths are laid at local war memorials.

The official Canadian national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, according to a strict protocol. A service is held and wreaths are laid by armed services representatives. In May 2000 the remains of a Canadian soldier who died in France in World War I, but was never been identified, were laid in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial.

Since then, members of the public have laid poppies, letters and photographs on the tomb. Similar services and events are held throughout Canada. Some schools that are open on Remembrance Day hold special assemblies, lessons and presentations on armed conflicts and those who died in them.

What’s Open or Closed?

The federal government recognizes Remembrance Day in the Holidays Act as a national holiday, but not all provinces treat it as a paid statutory holiday. Its status varies by province.

Manitoba

Manitoba retail business is prohibited between 9am and 1pm on Remembrance Day, with exception to professional health services, goods or services relating to:

  • Living accommodation or prepared meals.
  • Veterinary services.
  • Drugs, medicines, surgical appliances, or infant formula.
  • Gasoline, motor oil or related products.
  • Or parts and services for emergency repairs to a vehicle.

Remembrance Day is not a general holiday under Manitoba’s labour legislation but most industries in Manitoba are not allowed to operate that day, with some specified exceptions.

Ontario

In Ontario, some employers give their employees a holiday on Remembrance Day, but they are not require to do so under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).

Quebec

Remembrance Day is also not a statutory holiday in Quebec, although corporations that are federally registered may make the day a full holiday, or instead, designate a provincially recognized holiday on a different day. When Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday or Saturday that is a non-working day, workers are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the general holiday.

Nova Scotia

Remembrance Day is governed by the Remembrance Day Act in Nova Scotia. Some employees may be entitled to a benefit. Employees required to work on Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia get an alternate day off with pay, except for those types of businesses that are exempt from the Act. Employees who do not work that day, do not get paid for the day, unless the employer offers pay as an added benefit. Remembrance Day must be observed on the actual date.

About Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918. World War I was a massive conflict was played out over the whole globe, but particularly in Europe, where troops from Canada supported the Allied forces.

World War I resulted in the loss of huge numbers of lives amongst both civilians and military personnel. Many more people were badly injured. The war left great emotional scars in the servicemen, who had experienced it, and in the communities, whose sons, brothers, fathers, uncles and even grandfathers had died. Remembrance Day commemorates those who died in armed conflicts, particularly in and since World War I.

In Canada, November 11 is officially called Remembrance Day, but it is also known as Armistice Day and Poppy Day. Remembrance Day is commemorated in many countries, particularly members of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand (where it is also referred to as Armistice Day). In the United States, Veterans Day falls on the same date. In the United Kingdom, the Sunday closest to November 11 is known as Remembrance Sunday.

Symbols

Remembrance Day is symbolized by the artificial poppies that people wear and place at war memorials. The poppies may be worn or placed singly or as wreaths. The use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance comes from a poem written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor serving in the military. The poem is called In Flanders Fields and describes the poppies growing in the Flemish graveyards where soldiers were buried.

Poppies grow well in soil that has been disturbed. They also grew in large numbers on battle fields. The red color of their petals reminded people of the blood lost by victims of and casualties in the conflict. Some people choose to wear white poppies to campaign for non-military interventions in conflict situations.

Other symbols of Remembrance Day are the war memorials, which are often near the geographical center of communities. These commemorate members of the community, who have died in military action. A particularly well-known memorial is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, Ontario. The military parades held on November 11 are also symbolic of Remembrance Day.

Note:  For more information on the day, government sources such as Veterans Affairs Canada have a more detailed account.

Nov
21
Tue
World Hello Day – Promote Peace
Nov 21 all-day

World Hello Day on November 21 is an unofficial holiday created to promote world peace through interpersonal communication.

world-hello-day-church Say "hello" to everyone you meet on World Hello Day. ©iStockphoto.com/Maridav

Say “hello” to everyone you meet on World Hello Day.

The unofficial holiday was created by Brian and Michael McCormack as a response to the Yom Kippur War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egyptand Syria in 1973.

Say Hello

The purpose of World Hello Day is simple – to encourage communication and dialogue between people of different backgrounds in order to achieve peace and understanding.

Since its beginning in 1973, the day has been celebrated around the world annually with several Nobel Peace Prize winners and peace activists taking part in it.

How to Celebrate?

  • World Hello Day requires that participants greet at least 10 people. These people can be family and friends, but it is suggested that one finds strangers to greet and talk to.

Did You Know…

…that hello was used as a telephone greeting for the first time by Thomas Edison?

Dec
8
Fri
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Dec 8 all-day

Many Christians, particularly those of Catholic faith, in Canada observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on or around December 8.

feast-of-the-immaculate-conception-st-stephens-church  Various statues and other forms of artwork on the Immaculate Conception often feature the Virgin Mary as a young woman. ©iStockphoto.com/Domenico Pellegriti


Various statues and other forms of artwork on the Immaculate Conception often feature the Virgin Mary as a young woman.

What Do People Do?

Some churches in Canada, particularly the Catholic churches, hold special services (or masses) to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on or close to December 8. The feast focuses on the concept that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin. Many churches that observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception are busy preparing for the occasion prior to its occurrence.

Many church-run schools teach their students about the observance and its meaning around this time of the year. Some people write feature articles about the observance in publications or gazettes that are centered on the theme of religion.

Public Life

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is an observance among many Christian churches but it is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada.

Background

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception centers on the belief that Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was conceived without sin. Pope Pius IX issued an apostolic constitution, known as the Ineffabilis Deus, on December 8, 1854. This document clarified the importance of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church.

Symbols

Various paintings, statues and other forms of artwork have been made depicting the Immaculate Conception. Images of the Virgin Mary are shown in many of these artworks. Some churches and church-run schools in Canada are named in honor of the Immaculate Conception.

Conception Bay, in Newfoundland and Labrador, is named to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. People from Europe came to this area as far back as the early 1500s to use the bay for its rich marine resources.

Dec
11
Mon
Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster
Dec 11 all-day

The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is observed in Canada on December 11 each year to mark the statute’s establishment. The Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on this day.

the-anniversary-of-the-statute-of-westminster-canadian-flag-royal-union-flag-st-stephens-church  Both the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster. ©iStockphoto.com/philpell


Both the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together on the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster.

Flags Up from Sunrise to Sunset

Businesses, individuals and government offices across Canada observe the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster on this day. Canada’s national flag and the Royal Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, are flown from sunrise to sunset. The flags can be seen at federal buildings, airports, military bases and other government establishments.

What’s Open or Closed?

The Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster is not a public holiday but government and military officials ensure that the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag are flown together from sunrise to sunset on this day.

About the Day

The original Royal Union flag, or Union Jack, was first raised at a British settlement in Newfoundland, Canada, after 1610. In 1870 the flag was incorporated into the flags of the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governors of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In 1904 the flag became a Canadian symbol and was used by Canadian troops during World War I.

However, for many years during the early 20th century Canada sought to gain formal recognition of its autonomy from the United Kingdom. Finally, in 1931 the Statute of Westminster, 1931, which was an Act of the British Parliament, gave Canada its autonomy. This statute marks the independence of Canada as the nation that it is today.

In 1964 Canada’s parliament approved for the Royal Union flag to be used as a symbol of Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth of Nations and of the nation’s allegiance to the British Crown. Canada remains close with the United Kingdom and flies the Royal Union Flag along with the Canadian flag for occasions such as the Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, Commonwealth Day, and Victoria Day.

Symbols

The Royal Union Flag, which is seen on the arms of British Columbia and on the flags of Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, incorporates the diagonal cross of St Patrick with England’s St George’s cross and Scotland’s St Andrew’s cross. The Canadian flag is red and white, the official colors of Canada, with a stylized 11-point red leaf in its center. When flown together, there must be at least two flag poles and the Canadian flag takes precedence, never being replaced by the Union Jack.

xx

Feb
14
Wed
Valentine’s Day in Canada
Feb 14 all-day

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for people in Canada to tell somebody that they love them in a romantic way. It falls on February 14, the name day of two saints, St Valentine of Rome and St Valentine of Terni. In pre-Christian times, the middle of February was a time of pagan fertility festivals in Europe and allegedly the time when birds chose a mate.

valentine's-day-church Romantic dinners are a popular way to celebrate Valentine's Day. ©iStockphoto.com/g_studio

Romantic dinners are a popular way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
©iStockphoto.com/g_studio

What Do People Do?

Many people send letters, cards, presents and gifts to the person with whom they have or want to have a romantic relationship. Valentine’s Day cards are often red or pink and decorated with images of hearts, red roses, teddy bears, presents or happy couples kissing or embracing. They may be in brightly colored, perhaps pink or red, envelopes.

Many people give gifts to loved ones on Valentine’s Day. Common gifts are:

  • Flowers, particularly red roses.
  • Chocolates and/or candy.
  • Teddy bears.
  • Toy hearts.
  • Sparkling wine.
  • Cosmetics.
  • Clothing, including lingerie.
  • Jewelry.

Some people celebrate Valentine’s Day lavishly. They may treat their partner to a themed meal in a restaurant or a night in a luxury hotel. Others may take short breaks or vacations on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day can also be an occasion for a more general celebration of love and appreciation of people who are personally important to an individual. School children may help decorate their classrooms with hearts and spring birds and make cards or presents for their parents. Stores may also sell Valentine’s Day themed cakes, cookies or candy. Teenagers and young adults may hold Valentine’s Day parties or dances on or near February 14.

Public Life

Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday. Schools, businesses, organizations, post offices and stores are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual timetables. Restaurants and hotels may be busy as many people take out their partner for a romantic meal or night away in a hotel.

Background

The origins of Valentine’s Day are not clear. It is thought that there were a number of local fertility festivals in Europe in pre-Christian times. These were often in the middle of February. Many people also thought that birds chose their mates at this time of year. Around the year 1380, the English poet Chaucer wrote a poem for the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. This is thought to be the first association between celebrations of romantic love and St Valentine’s Day on February 14. The connection remained important throughout the middle ages.

In the mid-19th century, there was an increase in interest in Valentine’s Day, first in the United States, then in Canada. It was promoted by manufacturers of paper lace and cards as a means of increasing their sales. Gradually, this date was seen as an occasion for a man to present gifts to a woman with whom he had or would like to have had a romantic relationship.  It was also customary for lovers to exchange handwritten notes. These have now largely been replaced by commercially produced cards.

Symbols

The most common symbols of Valentine’s Day are heart shapes, which are used to decorate many things, including cards, trees, wrapping paper, cookies and gift boxes. Other symbols associated with February 14 are pairs of birds, cute teddy bears, Cupid and his arrows and couples kissing or embracing. The colors red and pink are often associated with Valentine’s Day.

Mar
14
Wed
Good Friday in Canada
Mar 14 all-day

Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday. It is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which plays an important part in the Christian faith. It is also a statutory holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories except Quebec, where it is partially observed.

Good Friday Church

Good Friday Church A depiction of Jesus on the cross.

What Do People Do?

Christians may attend special church services, even if they do not attend church regularly during the rest of the year. Good Friday is a day of mourning and quiet prayer among many Christians. The candles are often extinguished and statues, paintings and crosses may be draped in black, purple or gray cloth. Some Catholics observe a partial fast on Good Friday and do not eat any meat.

Hot cross buns are a traditional treat on Good Friday. These are small bread-like buns, made from dough that contains raisins, currants and other dried fruit. The top of a hot cross bun is marked with a cross and covered with a sugar glaze. The cross may be cut into the bun or marked with a special dough that remains pale even after it has been baked. Hot cross buns may be eaten as they are, split and spread with butter or toasted.

For Canadians who are not Christians Good Friday is the start of a three or four-day weekend. This is a welcome spring break, which some people use to visit family or friends. It is also a popular time to take a short vacation.

Public Life

Good Friday is a public holiday at a national level in Canada. Schools and many businesses and organizations are closed and many people have a day off work. Post offices are closed and in some areas, particularly in the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, stores are closed or have restricted opening hours. Public transport services many run to their usual or restricted timetables. In rural areas, public transport may close down completely.

In Quebec, Good Friday or Easter Monday are a statutory general holidays at the option of the employer. Schools and post offices are closed. Public transport services many run to their usual or restricted timetables. In rural areas, public transport may close down completely.

Background

Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. This is an important event in Christianity, as it represents the sacrifices and suffering in Jesus’ life. The crucifixion was the culmination of a number of events in Holy Week, including: the triumphal return of Jesus to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday; the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus; and the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

On Good Friday in 1964 (March 27), a large earthquake occurred when a fault between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates ruptured. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Prince William Sound in Alaska, USA, but also caused a tsunami. This damaged or destroyed more than 400 homes in communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island, including Port Alberni and Zeballos.

Symbols

The most important Good Friday symbol is the crucifix, or cross, which represents the way Jesus died. Some crosses bear a figure of Christ. Other symbols of Good Friday include black cloth used to cover the cross, paintings and statues in churches and some homes to signify mourning. In addition, some people deliberately create a bare appearance in their homes and churches by removing all flowers and shiny objects.

Mar
15
Thu
Holy Saturday
Mar 15 all-day

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Christian bible. It is the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday. It is also known as Easter Eve, Easter Even, Black Saturday, or the Saturday before Easter.

Holy Saturday Church

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus (sculpture of him pictured above) lay in his tomb after he died. He was resurrected on Easter Sunday, the day after Holy Saturday, according to Christian belief.
©iStockphoto.com/Edward Lin

What Do People Do?

Many Christians worldwide observe Holy Saturday by remembering it as the day when Jesus lay in the tomb. It is a day of both sadness and joy among Christians in many cultures. Many churches hold an Easter vigil (watch) service. Discussions about the meaning behind the rituals, prayer and symbols that are all part of the Easter vigil occur during these services. Some churches also hold large baptism services on this day.

Holy Saturday is known as Judas Day in Mexico, where people burn effigies of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Street vendors sell the effigies, which range in height, and make Judas look as ugly as possible. Effigies designed for children are stuffed with candy and hung in patios at people’s homes. Other effigies are seen on the streets or hung on lamp posts. Firecrackers are attached to many of these effigies and are ignited as soon as the Mass of Glory is over. Children scramble for the candy inside the effigies after they explode.

A Czech custom, known as White Saturday, is to rattle keys and burn out Judas by burning the last of the holy oil before the church door. Holy Saturday is observed by the blessing of food and Easter baskets in Poland. Children in many countries spend time decorating and coloring eggs on the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

Public Life

Holy Saturday is a public holiday in many parts of Australia (where it is known as Easter Saturday), and in places such as (but not exclusive to):

  • Belize.
  • Chile.
  • El Salvador.
  • Hong Kong.
  • Macau.
  • Nicaragua.
  • Panama.
  • Papua New Guinea.
  • Samoa.
  • Seychelles.
  • Solomon Islands.
  • Zambia.                    
  • Zimbabwe.

Holy Saturday is not a national public holiday in countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Background

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It is also known as the Vigil of Easter. The day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting. The vigil stems back to when Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday. It is also known as the day when Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that he had risen from the dead.

Holy Saturday was also known as Great or Grand Saturday, as well as the Angelic Night. It was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted in the early days of the Christian church. According to some sources, fasting occurred during the entire day or lasted for 40 hours before the Easter Sunday sunrise during the first century CE. This day was a major day for baptisms in the early church. Many churches still hold large services for baptisms on Holy Saturday.

Some people refer to Holy Saturday as Easter Saturday but this is a misnomer, as Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent and the eve of Easter. The Saturday after Easter Sunday is known as Easter Saturday, or Bright Saturday. It is important to note, however, that Holy Saturday is often referred to as Easter Saturday by some government sources in countries such as Australia.

Symbols

The Paschal candle, which is made of white wax, symbolizes leading people out of the darkness into the celebration of the Easter vigil. The candle is marked with a cross, an alpha and an omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet). This symbolizes that Jesus Christ has, and always will be with humanity, and is with humanity now, according to Christian belief.

Mar
16
Fri
Easter Sunday
Mar 16 – Mar 17 all-day

Easter Sunday in Canada celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his death, which is described in the Christian Bible. Some people observe Easter Sunday by attending church while others spend time with their families and friends or engage in Easter egg activities.

Easter Sunday Canada Church

Easter eggs are part of the Easter tradition in Canada.

What Do People Do?

Easter is a religious holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his death by crucifixion. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and family gatherings. Easter Day is a popular day for attending church, getting together for a big family meal, and staging an Easter egg hunt. It is also a good time for people to decorate Easter eggs, join in Easter craft contests and to indulge in holiday recipes, such as mustard-crusted lamb and the Easter basket cake.

The Bal en Blanc’s main event is held every Easter Sunday, attracting thousands of partygoers every year in Montreal.

Public Life

Many businesses, government offices, banks and liquor stores are closed on Easter Sunday.

Background

Many people organized spring festivals associated with the Pagan gods in ancient times. Many festivals celebrated nature’s rebirth, the return the land to fertility and the birth of many young animals.The idea of modern day Easter eggs derives from these festivals.

Many ideas associated with spring were then linked with Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection as the Christianity spread throughout the world. The crucifixion is remembered on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday. The idea of the resurrection became joined up with the ideas of re-birth in Pagan beliefs. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

Symbols

Easter candles are sometimes lit in churches on the eve of Easter Sunday. Some believe that these can be directly linked to the Pagan customs of lighting bonfires to welcome the rebirth or resurrection of the sun god.

Eggs of all types are an important symbol of Easter. They represent the rebirth of nature in the spring and the promise of new life in the spring and summer months to come and are seen as a reflection of the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion. Easter eggs, whether they are made of chocolate or candy or are decorated hens eggs, are common gifts all over the world during Easter. However, the biggest Easter egg in the world is a representation of a Ukrainian Easter egg, known as a Pysanka, located in Vegreville, Alberta.

The Pysanka in Vegreville was constructed in 1974 to mark the centenary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to celebrate Vegreville’s strong links with the Ukraine. It is made of more than 2000 aluminium triangles fixed together with nearly 7000 bolts and 177 internal struts. The egg is more than 25 feet (nearly eight meters) in diameter and is decorated with a gold, silver and bronze design. Its construction represented significant advances in computer modeling, mathematical theory, architectural design and engineering construction.

Mar
17
Sat
Easter Monday
Mar 17 all-day

Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday, which commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection, according to the Christian Bible. Easter Monday is also a holiday for many Canadians.

Easter Monday Church

A basket of Easter eggs.
©iStockphoto.com/Shannon Long

Celebrate Easter Monday

A proportion of Canadians have a day off work on Easter Monday and for some it is the end of a four-day weekend. People who have been on a short vacation or who have visited family or friends often travel home on Easter Monday. For others, it is a chance to eat their easter eggs, relax and, depending on the weather and when Easter falls, enjoy some time outdoors.

Public Life

The Canadian federal government lists Easter Monday as a statutory holiday but this isn’t the case with some provincial and territorial governments. Some state that the holiday is taken at the employer’s option. Rules about this holiday change and vary across businesses and provinces/territories from time to time.

Schools, businesses and organizations are closed in places where Easter Monday is a day off. Public transport services may run to reduced timetables. In rural areas, there may be no public transport services.

About Easter Monday

Easter Monday is a holiday in many English speaking countries, including England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Australia, and European counties. The tradition of having a holiday on the day after Easter Sunday was brought to Canada by European immigrants. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

Symbols

Eggs of all types are an important symbol of Easter. They represent the rebirth of nature in the spring and the promise of new life in the spring and summer months to come and are seen as a reflection of the resurrection of Christ after his crucifixion. Easter eggs, whether they are made of chocolate or candy or are decorated hens eggs, are common gifts all over the world during Easter. However, the biggest Easter egg in the world is a representation of a Ukranian Easter egg, known as a Pysanka, located in Vegreville, Alberta.

The Pysanka in Vegreville was constructed in 1974 to mark the centenary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and to celebrate Vegreville’s strong links with the Ukraine. It is made of more than 2000 aluminium triangles fixed together with nearly 7000 bolts and 177 internal struts. The egg is more than 25 feet (nearly eight meters) in diameter and is decorated with a gold, silver and bronze design. Its construction represented significant advances in computer modeling, mathematical theory, architectural design and engineering construction.

Jun
2
Sat
Meteor Watch Day
Jun 2 all-day

June 30 is Meteor Watch Day, a day to look up at the skies and behold the wonder of nature’s celestial fireworks, meteors

Meteor-Watch-Day-Church A shooting star goes across a cobalt blue star filled winter night with an apple tree silhouetted in the foreground. ©bigstockphoto.com/Faux Toe

A shooting star goes across a cobalt blue star filled winter night with an apple tree silhouetted in the foreground.

Commonly known as shooting stars, meteors are space particles known as meteoroids that burn up with a flash of light when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Even though meteors can only be seen by the naked eye when it is dark, meteoroids enter the Earth’s atmosphere all the time. It is estimated that about 20 to 25 million meteors weighing about 100 tons in total enter the Earth’s atmosphere every day!

Meteor Showers

Meteors can sometimes enter the Earth in clusters. When this happens the event is known as a meteor shower. Some meteor showers occur at the same time every year.

The unofficial holiday is also sometimes called National Meteor Watch Day or Meteor Day.

How to Celebrate

  • Have a meteor watching party with friends – grab a blanket, find a good spot to spread it, lay down on it and gaze over the night sky – you may be able to spot a meteor or two.
  • Remember to check the weather before you step out of the house and always wear weather appropriate clothing.

Did You Know…

…that meteors that enter the Earth’s atmosphere and hit the ground are called meteorites?

Jun
22
Fri
Onion Ring Day
Jun 22 all-day

Celebrate the delicious deep fried snack on June 22, Onion Ring Day.

Onion-Ring-Day-Church Breaded onion rings in a basket. ©bigstockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Breaded onion rings in a basket.

Commonly found in most bar menus in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, onion rings are made by breading and deep frying rings of onions. Onion rings are usually served with ketchup or some other form of dip or sauce.

Found Around the World

Some food historians believe that this snack was first created sometime in the 1930s in the United States, though versions of the dish can be found in many other parts of the world. In India for example, strips of onions are battered and fried and then served as a roadside snack.

A blooming onion is a whole onion that is cut in a shape of a flower and then battered and deep fried. This version of a fried onion was first served in the late 1980s in a chain restaurant in the United States.

How to Celebrate?

  • Have onion rings for all your meals. Make it more interesting by creating different dipping sauces for each meal.
  • Health conscious? What about baking onion rings instead of deep-frying them?

Did You Know…

…that people in Libya consume more onions than people in any other country?

Jun
23
Sat
Typewriter Day
Jun 23 – Jun 24 all-day

June 23, the anniversary of the granting of a patent to American inventor Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868 is celebrated around the world as Typewriter Day. So, take out your old typewriter from the attic, dust it and get started on your magnum opus!

Typewriter-Day-Church A young man typing in an old typewriter at the beach. ©bigstockphoto.com/nito

A young man typing in an old typewriter at the beach.

A typewriter is a mechanical device that allows users to type directly on a sheet of paper. While many people had been working on different prototypes of typewriters before 1868, Christopher Latham Sholes’ typewriter was the first one to be commercially marketed. Known as the Sholes and Glidden typewriter or the Remington 1 typewriter, the device could only type uppercase letters.

Revolutionary Device

Typewriters revolutionized the world of communications. Letters and correspondences looked more professional, followed a consistent format and were more legible when typed out on a typewriter compared to handwritten communications that dominated the workplace in the past. In addition to creating an efficient and more organized workspace, the use of typewriters in businesses and governments worldwide meant that typing became a required skill for many jobs. A large percentage of these jobs were administrative in nature and were usually done by women, who were specifically hired for their typing skills – the typewriter played an very important role in opening up workspaces for women.

How to Celebrate?

  • Organize a typewriting contest – whoever types the fastest and with the least number of errors wins.
  • Show your typewriter pride by wearing typewriter shaped jewelry.
  • Avoid using your computer and email, type letters and send them in the post/ mail.

Did You Know…

…that most typewriters and computers today share the same keyboard layout?

Jun
24
Sun
Take Your Dog to Work Day
Jun 24 all-day

Studies have shown that bringing pets to work can increase productivity. So, on the third Sunday of June take your dog to work to celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Take-Your-Dog-Work-Day-Church Fashion designer with his chihuahua at work. ©bigstockphoto.com/Wavebreak Media Ltd

Fashion designer with his chihuahua at work.

Celebrated annually since 1999 on the first Friday after Father’s Day in the United States, the unofficial holiday was created by Pet Sitters International as a way to encourage dog adoption and to celebrate the love and joy dogs bring to the lives of their pet parents.

The week preceding this unofficial holiday is Take Your Pets to Work Week.

How to Celebrate?

  • Take your furry friend to work on this day. Make sure you let your co-workers know that you will be bringing your dog to work and clear it with anyone who may have allergies or other issues.
  • Have your company organize a visit to the local dog shelter or better yet, let the local dog shelter come to your workplace with dogs that are in need of a loving home – you may never know, some of your co-workers may adopt a dog!

Did You Know…

… that in ancient China, royals would carry little dogs in their sleeves to keep warm?

Jun
25
Mon
Please Take my Children to Work Day
Jun 25 all-day

Please Take my Children to Work Day first began as a tongue-in-cheek holiday for overworked and tired stay-at-home mothers to take a day off from their routines. The holiday is celebrated annually on June 25.

Please-Take-My-Children-To-Work-Day-Church Father working in office with daughter. ©bigstockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages

Father working in office with daughter.

Today, as times have changed, this day applies to any parent who would like to take a break from their parental duties.

The unofficial holiday, which is not be confused with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, was created in 2003 by Jen Singer of MommaSaid.net – a parenting blog. The holiday encourages friends and family to take care of the children so that the stay-at-home parent can have some time to relax and rejuvenate.

The holiday is also sometimes celebrated on June 30 or on the last Monday of June.

How to Celebrate?

Being a stay-at-home parent can be one of most rewarding as well as an exhausting experience for parents. This unofficial holiday is a great excuse for them to take a break and enjoy some much needed me-time. Here are some ways to celebrate it:

  • Ask friends or family members to look after your children for the day. And if they can’t, hire a babysitter and take the day off to pamper yourself. Go to the spa or take the day to go to the movies. Shop or do anything else that you may not be able to do on a normal day.
  • If you know someone who is stay-at-home parent, take this day to show your appreciation of them. Do something nice for them!  Take them out for an adults only lunch or volunteer to babysit their children so that they can have some much needed time to themselves.

Did You Know…

…that a new born child has 300 bones while a fully grown adult has 206? The bones fuse together as the child grows.

Jul
1
Sun
Canada Day
Jul 1 all-day

On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day

Canada-Day Church Canadians of all ages can be proud of their heritage on Canada Day, an event widely celebrated throughout the country. Illustration based on artwork from ©iStockphoto.com/Carrie Bottomley

Canadians of all ages can be proud of their heritage on Canada Day, an event widely celebrated throughout the country.

What Do People Do?

In many towns and cities, municipal governments organize a range of events, often outdoors. These include pancake breakfasts, parades, concerts, carnivals, festivals, firework displays and citizenship ceremonies for new Canadian citizens. The celebrations often have a patriotic mood. Canada’s national flag is widely displayed and a lot of people paint their faces red and white, which are Canada’s national colors. The celebrations in Ottawa, which is Canada’s capital city, are particularly exuberant.

In the province of Quebec, many home leases start on July 1 and last for exactly one year. Hence, many people in Quebec spend Canada Day moving their possessions from one house to another. In this province, Canada Day is also known as Moving Day.

In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1 is also Memorial Day. This commemorates the heavy loss of life in the Newfoundland Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during World War I. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the morning of July 1 is usually somber. Flags are flown at half-mast and memorial services are held at cenotaphs (war memorials). In the afternoon, Canada Day celebrations in the province are similar to those in the rest of the country.

Public Life

July 1 is a statutory holiday in Canada unless it falls on a Sunday; then it moves to July 2. All provincial governments observe this day. Many organizations, businesses and stores are closed, although some book stores, pharmacies and gas stations may be open. Post offices are closed. As Canada Day falls in the Canadian summer holiday period, all schools are closed.

Public transport services may operate to their usual or a reduced timetable. In some areas, extra services are provided for large scale events. Street closures due to concerts, parades and festivals may cause some local disruption to traffic.

Background

On July 1, 1867, the British North Americas Act created the Dominion of Canada as a federation of four provinces. This event is known as the confederation of Canada. The four original provinces were created from the former British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada, which was divided into the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Canada’s boundaries have been extended since 1867. The country now consists of 10 provinces and three territories.

On June 20, 1868, the Canada’s Governor General proclaimed that Canadians should celebrate the anniversary of the confederation. July 1 became a statutory holiday, known as Dominion Day, in 1879. However, no official celebrations were held until the 50th anniversary in 1917 and the 60th anniversary in 1927. After World War II, Dominion Day was celebrated more frequently and more events were organized by the national government. After the centenary of the confederation in 1967, Dominion Day events became more widespread. July 1 became popularly known as Canada Day. The date was also officially known as Canada Day from 1983 onwards.

Since 2006 Canada Day celebrations were also held at London’s Trafalgar Square in the United Kingdom. It is expected that these celebrations will be held annually. Depending on the availability of Trafalgar Square, these events may be held just before, on or just after July 1.

Symbols

Canada’s national flag is seen on Canada Day. This consists of two vertical red rectangles separated by a white square. The white square contains a red image of a maple leaf. Canada’s national colors are red and white and are used in many ways on Canada Day. Some people wear red and white clothing and others paint their faces in these colors.

Jul
2
Mon
National Cheesecake Day
Jul 2 all-day

July 30 is National Cheesecake Day, a day to treat yourself with a slice (or two) of this decadent dessert made of cream cheese, eggs, sugar and a graham cracker crust.

national-cheesecake-day-church We won't judge you! Celebrate National Cheesecake Day with a slice or two or three of your favorite cheesecake. ©iStockphoto.com/william87

We won’t judge you! Celebrate National Cheesecake Day with a slice or two or three of your favorite cheesecake.

Believed to have originated in ancient Greece, cheesecakes, whether baked or chilled, have become a restaurant and bakery staple around the world. There are many different regional variations of the cake. For example, the Germans use Quark and a freshly made pastry as the base for their version of the cake. In Brazil, on the other hand, cheesecake is served with a thin layer of guava jelly or marmalade.

How to Celebrate?

  • With a big slice of cheesecake of course! Add some fruits to it, and you can claim that it is healthy!
  • Bake a cheesecake at home and add new twists to the traditional recipe. Here are some ideas: replace the graham cracker crust by chocolate cookie crust; add bacon to the crust for a salty and smoky flavor; replace cream cheese with ricotta or goat cheese.
  • Make a savory version of the cake for dinner and a sweet version for dessert.
  • In honor of National Cheesecake Day, many restaurants and bakeries have cheesecake specials on their menus. Take your family and friends out to try out one of these specials.

Did You Know…

…that a turophile is someone who loves and fancies cheese?

Jul
5
Thu
Workaholics Day
Jul 5 all-day

July 5 is Workaholics Day, a day dedicated to people who spend all their time working and tend to ignore other pursuits in life.

Workaholics-Day-Church Accountant doing financial reports being surrounded by huge piles of documents. ©bigstockphoto.com/pressmaster

Accountant doing financial reports being surrounded by huge piles of documents.

The unofficial holiday raises awareness about the fact that all work and no play can be harmful to the mental and physical health of workers. The day encourages workaholics to make lifestyle changes so that they give other aspects of their lives as much importance as their work.

How to Celebrate?

  • If there is a workaholic in your life, ask them to take the day off and take them out to do something fun. Perhaps a trip to a theme park or a hike?
  • Make a nice meal for the workaholic in your life and tell them about the problems associated of working all the time.
  • If you are a workaholic, take the day off to reevaluate your life and take some time off for yourself.

Did You Know…

…workaholic is a portmanteau word. It comes from combining two words – work and alcoholic. The term was first used extensively to refer to people who excessively and compulsively work in the late 1960s.

Jul
7
Sat
Tell the Truth Day
Jul 7 all-day

July 7 is Tell the Truth Day, a day dedicated to honesty and the rejection of manipulation and lying. Tell-The-Truth-Day-Church Chalkboard with writing. ©iStockphoto.com/yuriz

The unofficial holiday encourages people to always tell the truth, even if it is often times inconvenient and hard.

Honesty and truthfulness are virtues that are emphasized by all world religions. Cultures around the world put a premium on integrity and sincerity – people who tell the truth are always honored and celebrated over people known to tell lies.

Tell The Truth Day is also sometimes celebrated on April 2, the day after April’s Fool Day, a holiday that encourages pranks and harmless forms of lying.

How to Celebrate?

  • Celebrate honesty by telling the truth the whole day.
  • If you have kids in your life teach them that lying is harmful and tell them the benefits of telling the truth all the time.
  • If you have been lying to a loved one or a family member, today is the day to come clean.

Did You Know…

…that Benjamin Franklin is thought to have popularized the phrase “honesty is the best policy”?