Where did you spend the Queen’s birthday?

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In 2018, the theme chosen for the main Victoria Day’s event in Ottawa was “Tulip World” and several countries deserved a special mention, including Brazil.

In Brazil, holidays do not always fall on a Monday. And therefore, Brazilians can’t always enjoy a long weekend. In Canada, some holidays are established on Mondays and guarantee an extended time off. Among them is the celebration of the queen’s birthday. And here it’s worth adding a note. In Brazil, we would have to know which queen they’re referring to. The queen of the drummers in the carnival parade or the queen of Sweden? The samba queen lives right there in the heart of Rio. But Sweden’s queen, although she did live in São Paulo and speaks Portuguese without an accent, lives in Stockholm.

Here in Canada, the question posed not only is put into effect but is also more common than we can imagine. For the Canadian population, there is an extremely important time of year: Spring. We must not forget that the country has a very rigorous winter, and with Spring approaching, people’s good mood is visible everywhere you look. Even if it’s Spring only on the calendar and outside, the cold is still dragging on. That’s when the question arises among Canadians, even among those who, like me, were born in other locations: where are you going to spend the Queen’s birthday, Victoria Day?

But, after all, why is Queen Victoria’s birthday so important to national tourism? In the streets, only a few will give an answer concerning the celebrated monarch. The truth is that the date marks the end of Winter, the beginning of Spring and the advent of Summer. In addition, the day also incorporates the birthday celebration of the current Queen of Canada and the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. It turns out that although it is one of the most important birthday celebrations, neither Queen Victoria nor Lady Di’s mother-in-law were born on May 21, Victoria Day in 2018. It doesn’t really matter: date chosen, date celebrated. The celebration is always on the first Monday before May 25, Queen Victoria’s true birthday.

Many cities vie for the best Victoria Day. Vancouver went from parade to rodeo. As for Montreal, in French Canada, it took the opportunity to celebrate on the same day the National Patriots’ Day, dedicated to those who fought in 1837-38 for freedom and democracy. Toronto, the largest city in the country, always celebrates in style, and bets on the most beautiful and longest fireworks on the edge of Lake Ontario.

However, with its many attractions and promises to tourists, the Queen’s crown jewel was found in Ottawa. In the capital of Canada, a four-day tourist agenda in May ensured the presence of both Canadians and foreigners. The events, most with free admission, were incredibly varied. In 2018, it included everything from a huge civic parade to a Sheep Shearing Festival, and also a Science Fair, children’s recreational activities, and a musical show featuring the songs of the Harry Potter films, as well as the fireworks, as in all cities.

Among the varied activities, Ottawa managed to present a spectacle that surpassed all the others and occupied a prime position among the great tourist attractions of the country: the Canadian Tulip Festival. Throughout the month of May, Ottawa is covered by a flowery cloak of a million tulips. There are 60 types of the flower spread throughout the city. This event led the city to receive the title of Tulip Capital of the World. In 2018, the theme chosen for the event was “Tulip World” and several countries deserved a special mention, including Brazil. Its origin dates back to the arrival of the Dutch princess Juliana to Ottawa during the Nazi occupation of her country, and the birth on Canadian soil of her daughter Margriet. As a thank you for the welcome, since the end of World War II, the Dutch royal family has been sending 100,000 tulip bulbs to the capital of Canada each year. The festival, held since 1953, is one of the largest events of its kind in the world and makes the official flower of Ottawa a symbol of friendship and peace among nations. There are already Canadians asking: in 2019, where will you spend the Queen’s birthday?