Family Day

by Ashley Van Spengen

As Family Day encroaches closer and closer, I feel like we don't understand what this statutory holiday is made to celebrate. So why don't we learn about this holiday celebrated in Canada together!

Now I realize not EVERY province celebrates the third Monday of February as Family Day, such as. Manitoba, Nova Scotia or PEI, they do have their own holidays on these specific days. But we're situated in Alberta for the time being, so LETS LEARN ABOUT FAMILY DAY!

This holiday is, honestly pretty new. It was first celebrated in Alberta in 1990, which is frankly insane! Most parents to the new generation, didn't have this holiday growing up, and I don't believe many of us know the actual reasoning for this holiday, and why it's on this particular day. The third Monday of the month, was proclaimed a holiday by Don Getty, and the Lieutenant Governor Helen Hunley, as a way for Albertans to spend time with their families, and the importance of family values. Which, yup, adds up. 

Bob Giffin, Getty’s former executive director, also notes that Family Day came out of the Getty’s own attitude towards families.

“He is quite the family guy,” Giffin says. “He believes very strongly in the family unit. At that time of year, in the wintertime, there wasn’t much of a break between Christmas and Easter and he thought it was a way to keep the family unit together. It brings attention to the family.”

 - Alex Frazer-Harrison, Calgary Herald

Though sadly, not everyone gets the Monday off. Many people working in retail have shifts and, since it’s not nationally recognized as a holiday, most federal workers don’t get the day off, as many employers fought and argued that they'd be losing so much with all these holidays if all their employee's took the day off. 

The date itself, is interesting as it coincides with Presidents Day in America. I do believe it's not unreasonable to suspect that, that's theres reason that Family Day falls on the same day, as many folks in the States have the day off and shipping from the states halt for the day, thus slowing down our own production and deliveries. Seems like a reasonable time to have a holiday, and rejuvenate and recharge employee's batteries.  

What I do find important to note, is that it's Family Day. Not a specific member of the family, like Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Grandparents Day. I find this very important actually, as not everyone has close blood ties with their biological family. And the fact that family does not end with blood, and it made by the connects we desire to keep. 


Happy Family Day Everyone! 


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