Queen's Official Birthday

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The queen referred to in this article is the monarch of the Commonwealth Realms
Image:Government House, Jersey, Queen's Birthday reception 2005.jpg
In Jersey the Lieutenant-Governor hosts a reception for the public at Government House to mark the Queen's Official Birthday, at which he announces the names of recipients of Birthday Honours

The Queen's Official Birthday (sometimes known as "the Queen's Birthday") is celebrated as a public holiday in several Commonwealth countries – usually Commonwealth Realms, although it also celebrated in Fiji, now a republic. The word "Queen" in the name of the celebration is replaced by "King" when appropriate. The exact date of the celebration varies from country to country, and it does not usually mark the real birthday of the sovereign (the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926). Most Commonwealth Realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time.


[edit] United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the Queen's Official Birthday is now celebrated on the first, second, or third Saturday in June (in 2006 it was the 17th), and is marked in London by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, which is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade. Edward VII (who reigned 1901–1910) moved the ceremony to that date in the hope of good weather.

The list of Birthday Honours is also announced at the time of the UK Official Birthday celebrations. In British diplomatic missions the day is treated as the National Day of the United Kingdom. Although it is not celebrated as a public holiday in the UK (as it is not a working day), civil servants are given a "privilege day" at this time of year, which is merged with the Spring Bank Holiday (last Monday in May) to create a long weekend.

[edit] Australia and New Zealand

Australia (except Western Australia, which has a Foundation Day a week earlier), has the Official Birthday on the second Monday in June and observes it as a public holiday. The Governor of Western Australia proclaims the date Western Australia will observe the Queen's Birthday based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show.<ref>Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, Labour Relations division</ref> There is no firm rule to determine this date before it is proclaimed, though it is typically the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October. The only civic occasion of note associated with the day is the release of the "Queen's Birthday honours list", on which new members are inducted into the Order of Australia. It also serves as the opening weekend to Australia's snow season, though it is quite common for there to be no skiable snow until much later.

The Queen's Birthday weekend was long the traditional time for public fireworks displays in Australia. Although they still occur, the tradition has recently been overshadowed by larger New Year's Eve fireworks. The sale of fireworks in the Australian Capital Territory is only legal during the Queen's Birthday weekend. <ref>[1]</ref>

In New Zealand, the holiday is the first Monday in June, and owing to the climate being colder than Australia's, usually serves as the opening weekend to the country's snow season.

Observing the Queen's Birthday in Australia and New Zealand on the actual date of the Queen's birth would be impractical as it would be too close to ANZAC Day four days later and the Easter long weekend.

[edit] Canada

According to the legislation creating Victoria Day, Canada celebrates the Queen's official birthday that general holiday, the Monday on or before 24 May. However, it is not widely known that Victoria Day is intended to honour the current queen as well as Queen Victoria, who was born May 24, 1819. For Canadians, Victoria Day is often considered the beginning of summer, when theme parks and outdoor pools are opened, and other summer activities begin.

[edit] Other countries and territories

The Queen's official birthday is a public holiday in Gibraltar and Bermuda, and most other British overseas territories. In the Falkland Islands, the actual day of the Queen's birth, April 21, is celebrated, as June is a winter month in the Islands.

It ceased to be a public holiday in Hong Kong after the territory's handover to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

Fiji also still celebrates the Queen's Official Birthday, along with the Prince of Wales's Birthday, even though the Queen ceased to be head of state in 1987.

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