5.21.2006

may two-four

This holiday tomorrow, is it the kind of holiday where everything is closed, and everyone is having barbecues, drinking, and partying? Or is it the kind of holiday where all the stores are running sales and everyone is out shopping? Or something else entirely? Will my local LCBO be open?

Non-Canadian readers, tomorrow is Victoria Day, known as May Two-Four. I was supposed to start my new job that day, but since it's a national holiday, I'll start on Friday, and take the holiday off. Unpaid, of course. I'm glad for it, though, as I have to begin work on several stories.

On a related note, the expression "national holiday" seems to be US; Canadians use "statutory holiday". Same thing?

22 comments:

redsock said...

Will my local LCBO be open?

Oh shit! And we got a Sox/Yanks game tomorrow night!

Not good.

teflonjedi said...

"May Two-Four"??? Sounds like the culture has changed on me since I left. Again. How dare they! ;)

Seriously, I'd never heard of Victoria Day being called that, when I was growing up. It was always Victoria Day. Or, to me, as a kid, it was "the national holiday for my birthday"...

I wonder...the only "two-four" in common use when I left was for, uh, beer. Did the usage bleed over, from the holiday beverages to the holiday?

redsock said...

It doesn't say!

Ack! Help!

Kate said...

As a new Canadian experiencing MY first ever Victoria Day, I have the same questions. I have seen A LOT of signs in grocery/drug stores stating that they'll be closed on Monday. But the LCBO is open until 5 on Sunday, so head down now to get your drinks!

I also think "stat holiday" is a Canadian-ism, but I could be wrong about that.

L-girl said...

T-jedi, my friend, you've been away too long. Not only has everyone I've met called it the May Two-Four holiday, my future supervisor at work (who is young, I grant you) said she grew up thinking it was a day everyone carried around two-by-fours! Because that's all anyone called it.

Not sure about the beer connection. I imagine someone will be around to answer that soon.

Oh shit! And we got a Sox/Yanks game tomorrow night!

Don't worry, my dear - we're covered well enough for a game. :-)

And hi fellow new Canadian! Welcome to wmtc.

James said...

"May Two-Four"??? Sounds like the culture has changed on me since I left. Again. How dare they! ;)

Well, "May Two-Four" usually refers to the whole long weekend, while "Victoria Day" refers to the Monday off.

On a related note, the expression "national holiday" seems to be US; Canadians use "statutory holiday". Same thing?

Not quite. A statutory holiday is any legislated holiday -- federal, provincial, or territorial. Newfoundland, for example, has "St. Patrick's Day" (large Irish population), "St. George's Day", "Discovery Day" (celebrating John Cabot's arrival in 1497), and "Orangement's Day" (to give the Protestants something to balance the Catholics) as statutory holidays, but no other provinces do.

Steeped Tea said...

May two four does have a beer connection. It's what we call a case of beer, a "two four" because it has 24 bottles in it.

redsock said...

Don't worry, my dear - we're covered well enough for a game. :-)

What about extra innings?!?

She said...

In Saskatchewan and Alberta- it's tha May long weekend, or May stat holiday, or in our family- our wedding anniversary/spouse's birthday celebration.

It's often the first taste of summer-y weather on the Prairies, when people head out to the lakes or have backyard gatherings (that's when the "2-4" comes in).

SK weather is completely unpredictable- here in Saskatoon, we were sweltering Thursday in 30 degree heat, Saturday was cool and windy, tomorrow back up to 30. Pity the campers, best to prepare for any and all conditions.

At least it's not snowing like at our wedding in 1997.

L-girl said...

A statutory holiday is any legislated holiday -- federal, provincial, or territorial.

That makes sense. But Canadians call a nationally legislated holiday a "statutory holiday" - Americans say "national holiday".

It's often the first taste of summer-y weather on the Prairies, when people head out to the lakes or have backyard gatherings (that's when the "2-4" comes in).

Sounds like the equivalent of US Memorial Day, which is the unofficial start of summer. When I was a kid, it was our first beach weekend.

What about extra innings?!?

Off to the LCBO, I am... :)

L-girl said...

May two four does have a beer connection. It's what we call a case of beer, a "two four" because it has 24 bottles in it.

A clever double-entendre, as Wikipedia tells me Queen Victoria's birthday was on May 24...

lil Squid said...

We knew it as Victoria Day growing up- or the May 2-4 being both her birthday and a reference to a 2-4 (case) of beer.
It was the traditional first long weekend of summer and fireworks and the weekend where folks open their cottages for the season and plant their gardens have BBQ's and drink.
Hope you have a good one!

L-girl said...

Thanks! If there's good weather, I can sit in my backyard and enjoy the green and quiet.

andrea said...

national holiday (US) = stat holiday (Canada) = bank holiday (UK)

M@ said...

A Mormon friend of mine told me that he was over 30 when he discovered that the May 2-4 weekend was called that because of the beer connection. He thought it was just because of the May 24th connection, because he did not actually know how many beers were in a case.

There's a cultural difference for ya!

So is anyone doing the fireworks thing this weekend? It seems like most people have moved the displays to July 1, a dramatic change from when I was a child. In my neighbourhood, it appears to be mainly teenagers lighting up the rockets. Either teenage boys are pyromaniacs of the first order, or they're really into Queen Victoria. I wonder which it is.

Owl-in-Toronto said...

The term "May 2-4" is completely new to me - it may be something fairly local (I never heard of it in either Alberta or Toronto proper. I also asked around, and nobody had heard of this term either.)

By the way, Victoria Day is no longer observed in Britain.

People that I know seem to think of Victoria Day as the start of spring, a time to head up to the cottage and do some work on it, or, if you are staying in Toronto, head down to the lake and watch the fireworks.

There is another "holiday" which might amuse you - "National Skip-Off Day" - first Monday in June. Some Toronto students would head off to the Toronto Islands. Teachers know about this "holiday" and schedule tests at the first sign that somebody may be tempted to observe it. I found only one reference to this holiday, and that was that there is no such holiday.

David Cho said...

Isn't the word "holiday" a derivative of "holy day"? I think the terms needs to be changed

Scott M. said...

Over my lifetime (I'm 30), I've watched as the Victoria day holiday has morphed into May 2-4. A note: the holiday is always on the preceding Monday if the 24th doesn't fall on the Monday. This can be confusing for new Canadians who rightfully think that the May 2-4 holiday Monday should fall after a May 24th Saturday or Sunday.

Other connections: It has always been a weekend to open the cottage, the safe weekend to start planting, the first weekend of camping.

A change has occured on the camping front coincidental (and possibly causal) with the change to calling the weekend the May 2-4 weekend... in the last 5-10 years, this has become a weekend where youth go out and get completely drunk while camping, much more so than in my youth.

I believe I first heard the term "May 2-4 Weekend" in a beer commercial in the 80s, though I can't find proof of that on the net. Typing in "May 2-4 Weekend" into Google does get some interesting sites though.

L-girl said...

Hey, thanks everyone! Cool factoids.

O-i-T, if it's a local expression, it includes Toronto. Most people where I work and where Allan works, big law firms in downtown T.O., call it May Two-Four. They're not all native to Toronto, of course - they've moved here from all over Canada.

David, the word holiday does derive from holy day. But hey, all words derive from somewhere...

The "open the cottages, or head to the lake to watch fireworks" motif is identical to Memorial Day in NYC. Folks who can go to the Hamptons or other beaches, folks who stay in town can watch fireworks on the East River.

I usually didn't do either. :)

Jenjenjigglepants said...

"May 2-4" seems SOOO Ontario to me... When I was in Vancouver working with a crowd from all over Canada "May Long" or "May Long Weekend" was predominant with only the Ontarians notable for insisting on "May 2-4". The ongoing debate made the weekend seem especially long...

In high school the joke seemed to be to shorten "Victoria day weekend" to "VD weekend" causing giggles/groans and probably making us think twice about getting super drunk and letting go of all inhibitions.

Enjoy it!

Cheers, Jen

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I think May 2-4 is a more recent thing. It always used to be called Victoria day, but it sort of morphed into the May 2-4 over the past 10 years or so.

MSS said...

On the "statutory holiday" concept, we (i.e. US) most certainly do have the equivalent: "Legal holiday."

At least that used to appear on lots of calendars, though I can't say I have noticed it recently.

For example, November 11 was always Veterans Day (well, actually it was once Armistice Day) as a national holiday, but under the Monday Holiday Act, a "legal holiday" was established on a separate day (unless Nov. 11 happens to fall on the legally designated Monday).

Same thing with President's Day, which has legal standing, even though it is not actually Washington's Birthday (which was the former national holiday it legally commemorates).

And, of course, as soon as Congress passes a statute that legally designates a holiday, it becomes a bank holiday!

All this reminds me of the Churchill quip about the British and Americans (and let's add Canadians) being separated by a common language.