February holiday: what are you celebrating?
On Feb. 15, many Canadians and Americans are enjoying a holiday or commemorating a historical anniversary.
In 1990, Alberta was the first province to adopt a statutory holiday in February.
Since 2007, more provinces adopted a holiday in February. For some provinces, it is a rest day for families to enjoy themselves. For others, it is a day for a province to reflect on its heritage.
Here are some of the major celebrations happening today across Canada and the U.S.
The most common holiday across the country is Family Day. Residents in Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and B.C., celebrate Family Day with day off to spend time with their family and community.
Groups like the Family and Community Support Service Association of Alberta are using Family Day to promote more family time and less time on electronics.
The group’s Family Day Unplugged program aims to reduce mobile device usage and encourage families to participate in activities in their local community.
In P.E.I., residents get a Monday off to relax and spend time with their family and friends.
This year, residents can celebrate its literature classic by watching the debut of Anne of Green Gable on YTV at 6 p.m. EST.
Louis Riel Day
Louis Riel is viewed as the founder of Manitoba and is known for starting two rebellions in Canada and a defender of Métis rights. He is a controversial figure revered by francophone and aboriginals but despised by English Canada in his time.
Louis Riel Day is an opportunity for Métis and other aboriginal groups to showcase their culture, language and history.
Residents also get a day off to spend with their family.
WATCH: Flash mob takes over Northgate food court for Louis Riel Day
In 2015, Nova Scotia celebrated its first Heritage Day, and became the seventh province to legislate a paid holiday in February.
On Heritage Day, Nova Scotia celebrates remarkable individuals, events and places from its past. Every year the province picks a new person to celebrate.
WATCH: Nova Scotia celebrates Heritage Day. Alexa McLean explains.
This year’s honouree is 19th century publisher and politician Joseph Howe.
Howe is famous for his defense of free speech of the press in an 1835 libel case where he successfully defended himself on comments published in the paper about the magistrate.
He was acquitted of all charges.
WATCH: Garry Shutlak of the Nova Scotia Archives joins Global News to talk about the historical significance of Joseph Howe.
Provinces with no holiday
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and the territories do not have a paid statutory holiday in February.
The New Brunswick government says it is considering introducing a statutory holiday.
Yukon’s heritage day is on Feb. 26.
It is a statutory holiday marked by the annual winter festival known as the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous in Whitehorse.
The festival features an air show, dog races, snow sculptures and various outdoor activities.
National Flag Day
Though not a national holiday, Feb. 15 is also recognized as National Flag Day because the maple leaf flag was inaugurated as Canada’s national flag on Feb. 15, 1965.
Flag Day celebrates its inauguration.
WATCH: Saskatoon celebrates 51st Canadian Flag Anniversary. Ryan Kessler reports.
Many public schools hold special lessons on the flag’s history and the debate and controversy in choosing a flag.
Canadians across the country show their pride in unique ways. In Welland, Ont., the Main Street Bridge was lit in red and white colours to commemorate Flag Day on Feb. 14, 2016.
In the U.S., President Day is held near George Washington’s birthday. The day commemorates all the past American presidents and their achievements.
Most states focus on commemorating the life of George Washington, the first president of the U.S. Some states may also focus on Abraham Lincoln whose birthday is in mid-February.
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