It’s hard to say anything about “the right way to celebrate Family Day.”
Our newest provincial holiday is just four years old this year, implemented by the province for the first time in 2013 (just in time for a provincial election).
It isn’t even our idea. Feb. 8 is also being celebrated as Family Day in Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. PEI celebrates Prince Edward Islander Day, Nova Scotia celebrates a Heritage Day and Manitobans mark Louis Riel Day in February.
There’s no religious, cultural, or historic purpose attached to the day. It was put in place purely to give everyone a bit of a break during the longish slog of no-holidays between New Year’s Eve and Easter.
Family Day’s name is an exercise in branding, pure and simple, a voter-friendly name plastered on something. It could have been called Winter’s Almost Over Day or Second Groundhog Day or Lie at Home Eating Waffles and Watching Netflix Day.
But, cynical as we may be, it’s not a bad idea to call it family day.
Christmas and New Year’s are often a mixture of wonderful and stressful. Winter, with its long dark days and frequent torrential rain, can bring people’s moods down.
One of the best ways to recharge and re-energize, before spring finally bursts free and we can enjoy a bit of sunshine (or at least warmer rain showers), is to spend time with those who are special to us.
So this coming Family Day long weekend, try to make some time a group activity with your loved ones. Go for a walk. Play a board game. You could even host your own version of Waffles & Netflix day, if you make enough for two or three or a dozen people.
Don’t worry about narrowly defining who your family is for this Family Day. Husbands and wives, parents and kids, siblings, and good friends.
In fact, if we really want to keep the spirit of Family Day in our hearts all year, maybe the government could hold it two or three times annually? How about it, politicians?