Family Day

By Kevin Brown | Bio

Today is ‘Family Day’, a public holiday in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.  It is also celebrated in South Africa, in the Australian Capital Territory, in the state of Arizona in the U.S., and in the Republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific.

In Alberta where I live, ‘Family Day’ was declared to recognize the values held by the pioneers who built the province and the values of home and family. It is celebrated on the third Monday of February, and provides families and friends with the opportunity to reconnect with one another, generally outdoors if weather cooperates. Winter in Alberta brings months of cooler temperatures and snow and
with it, short days and long nights.  Declaring a holiday in February
encourages Albertans to take time to enjoy our northern climate and to
indulge in the activities that winter uniquely affords us.

Not everyone is granted the day off: the service industries remain at work to allow much of the general population to enjoy the day outdoors skiing, skating, ice fishing, hiking, walking, running, taking in outdoor festivals, going to a zoo, or perhaps just sitting on a bench and reading a good book.  For others, the day may be spent inside with family and friends at the theatre, visiting a shopping mall, going swimming, skating indoors, or gathering family and friends for conversation and perhaps a meal together.

Whatever the activity, this day creates a time for us to look at the importance of the multigenerational family, to celebrate and respect cultural diversity in our communities, to enjoy the magnificence of our natural environment, and to spend time with those we love. On this day, Elders in particular have the unique privilege of sharing of their wisdom, their experiences and their grace in reinforcing the centrality of home and family in our society. 

Chances are that many of you do not live in a jurisdiction that formally recognizes Family Day today. If that is the case, then I encourage you to exercise your individual ability to declare the importance of family in your life. I invite you to dedicate some time today to connect with family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, sons, and daughters) and with your friends. Remind them how important they are to you and share with them why they bring happiness into your life. If time permits, plan an activity that you can enjoy together, whether today or sometime this week. Remember, you love what you find time to do!

© 2009 Kevin Brown. All rights reserved.


0 thoughts on “Family Day”

  1. Here in Ontario, Family Day is a mixed blessing. Daycares are closed, families where the parents must work on that day and normally rely on daycare for their children while they work are in real trouble. Hardly a tribute to “family values” for them.

  2. Anne’s comment in response to my article is noteworthy for sure. While Family Day is relatively new in Ontario (two year’s old), Alberta on this the 20th anniversay of the holiday, continues to have similar challenges extending the benefits of Family Day to everyone.

    While Day Cares remained closed, so do schools and thus parents who work must find alternatives for their children. While there are certainly many instances where families cannot be together, a large part of the population is positively impacted by this holiday.

    Perhaps in coming years, businesses might consider a shortened work day on Family Day so that impacted parents might still be able to enjoy at least part of the day with their family.

    Kevin Brown

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