Every year, the second or third Monday in February in certain provinces across Canada (depending on where you are) is known as Family Day. This is a day where most kids get the day off from school, most workers (except federal employees) get to stay home, and family time is celebrated.
The tradition was started in 1990 in Alberta, and is now also recognized in Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. While it is not a national statutory holiday – since not all parts of the country celebrate it – it is nevertheless a tradition that we could learn a lot from here in the US.
The whole point of Family Day is to take a day off and spend it with your family. This in itself is an important concept – how often do we sit down and appreciate our families? We have a day for mothers, a day for fathers, and birthdays for each of us, but celebrating an entire family as a unit is a powerful thing – because each person contributes to the whole.
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is not uncommon for family members to feel underappreciated, overworked or ignored. Sometimes, even if we appreciate our loved ones very much, we feel too busy to slow down and tell them so. Family Day offers a perfect reminder to do just that.
In Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, Family Day often coincides with National Heritage Day. This creates a perfect time for Canadian families to delve into their histories together – histories of the family, community and nation as a whole. Time is spent by some families learning about ancestors’ accomplishments, and what those accomplishments meant to the family.
One of the reasons that the Canadian provinces which do celebrate Family Day decided to observe it is that it creates a break – something to look forward to – between the Christmas holidays and Easter. In the midst of a long, cold, Canadian winter, that sort of break is key.
Although we don’t have an official Family Day in the US, why not celebrate one anyway? It’s the perfect excuse to do something fun together, or even just to tell the people in your life how grateful you are for them. You could even choose to have a special meal together – yes, there’s Thanksgiving, but this could be a mini-Thanksgiving just for the household.
And why stop at just one family day a year? With so many of us on the go and missing out on the shared experience of family time, why not add Sunday family dinner night (or some other night of the week) to our schedules? If we learn more about and focus on healthy eating at this family dinner, like we so often write about here at The Alternative Daily, we may just find that healthy eating catches on all week.
-The Alternative Daily