I suppose it is requisite to wish everyone a happy Family Day, even though, as my own Dad said about ‘Mother’s Day’ – every day should be ‘mother and family day’. The origins of this provincial civic holiday go back a ways, to 1990, in Alberta, and the next province was Saskatchewan in 2007. Ontario under Dalton McGuinty adopted the holiday in 2008, to be celebrated on the third Monday of the month of February, coinciding with President’s Day in the States, originally commemorating Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays (February 22 and 12 respectively). I suppose there is some connection between Presidents and Families; every president derives from one and, so far, all of them have been husbands and fathers, with the exception of James Buchanan (1857 – 1861), the only presidential bachelor, whose tenure immediately preceded the Civil War. Coincidence, methinks, but one never knows.
We have no ‘Prime Ministers’ Day’ here in Canada. We do celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday in May, for we are a constitutional monarchy, and she definitely was a family woman, married to Albert for two decades. Even if they were first cousins – which is against Canon Law, so no funny ideas, all you Catholics out there – and she apparently hated being pregnant, thought babies were ugly, Queen Victoria in good British style did her familial duty. Their nine children all seemed more or less well raised and healthy.
For our own ‘Family Day’ There is a certain irony in a holiday imposed by a government, many of whose policies actively undermine the traditional family – a man and a woman, united in matrimony, along with their children, the standard to which all other approximations of family life are to be measured. Now, it seems, the ‘family’ is whatever you make it; after all, why leave anyone out?
But we take what we can get, and here’s to all those joyfully slogging it out in the trenches, raising future generations in a milieu of sacramental love. Pope Saint John Paul II, who wrote much on this more ancient, perfect and primordial of societies, was right when he declared that ‘as the family goes, so goes society‘.
Here’s to you all, Mums, Dads, and children galore.
Sancta Familia, intercedat pro nobis!