It's the Victoria Day long weekend stupid.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Written by Adam A. Donaldson

There are certain things that bug us inexplicably; there's no reason beyond the emotion and no answer that can be put into words that don't sound either confusing or insane. It's an impulse; w e hear it, see it or smell it and it drives us a little batty. With the first long weekend of summer upon us one of my "favourite" pet peeves has been inflicted upon me once again. For all those who identify the Victoria Day holiday as the May 2-4, this one's for you.

First, the mere premise of calling the weekend 2-4 should suggest that the date of the 24th fall on the Monday. Of course in 2006 this is not the case; this year the 24th falls on a Wednesday. According to tradition, Victoria Day is the Monday on and before the 24th, which means that Victoria Day only falls on the 24th every five or six years. So call the weekend 2-4is only correct about once or twice a decade. Brilliant.

Sure Victoria Day has been called other things in the past, Dominion Day and Empire Day being two variations; and certainly Victoria Day as a holiday is not limited to Canada but is celebrated under a different name and purpose in many of the Commonwealth countries. But why must we besmearch a long held tradition and holiday with a simplistic, insulting and frequently incorrect nick name like May 2-4.

Could you imagine the outrage in the United States if people started identifying Presidents' Day as the Feb 2-2? Wouldn't Christians go into fits of hysterics if December 2-5 became a popular colloquialism for Christmas? I believe it's worth pointing out that we don't call Thanksgiving the October 1-4 weekend, since it does have to fall on or before October 14th; and I'm sure calling Canada Day the 7-1 would get your patriotic fervor into a lather.

Holidays, you see, mean something, and as well they should our calendars and schedules are built around them. Victoria Day is no exception, it honours our country's British heritage and the monarch that granted us our independence. That might not mean much to increasing majority of you that use May 2-4 as a pagoritive, but it means a great deal to those of us who believe in the importance of remembering our history and of being correct in our use of language.

What fired off this rant was seeing TV newscasters and one of our local papers, in separate instances, use the phrase May 2-4 versus the correct and accurate Victoria Day long weekend. I hold such institutions to a higher standard than Joe Sweatsock in line at the beer store, where May 2-4 has a double meaning.

Another blood curdling example of incorrect language that's leeched into our vernacular is the past participle "snuck", which absolutely has no meaning in the English language but has somehow become so common that even educated people (who should know better) use it. As my mother is so fond of pointing out: there is no such word as "snuck", the correct term is "sneaked". As in, "I sneaked into the movies."

In closing I'd like to say that I hope that we will do better come Victoria Day weekend 2007, lest I have to rant again. I do hate repeating myself.

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