Monday, June 6, 2011

the Queen's birthday

Today in New Zealand we celebrate the Queen's Birthday (always celebrated on the first Monday of June, regardless of the actual date of birth of the current sovereign).

Presumably this day was instituted as a day to celebrate the British Monarchy.  However, no one I know of celebrates the Monarchy on this day.  Queen's birthday is just a long weekend: and precious as such because it's the last before Labour Day.  It's your last opportunity to snatch a long weekend away while the weather's still sort of nice.  The long grind of winter is approaching and after this it's all downhill till Labour Day.

It certainly doesn't have anything to do with the Queen!

On Waitangi Day we (increasingly) celebrate our  nationhood; on Auckland Anniversary Day we have a massive regatta to celebrate our Harbour - our pride and joy as Auckanders; on Labour Day National Radio, at least, puts on documentaries that draw attention to the fight for the 40 hour week and better labour conditions.

Christians often lament that Christmas and Easter seem to have little to do with Jesus's birth or death and ressurection, at least in the public consciousness.  It seems they aren't the only public holidays to have become divorced from their intended meaning.  Indeed on Christmas and Easter you would expect at least some religious programming on state radio and TV, not the generic 'public holiday' broadcasting we're having today.  It seems like they aren't the only 'debased' holidays: relics of a past when NZ saw itself as a part of both Christendom and the British Empire.

I'd never thought of it like that before.

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