The Queen's birthday, also known as the Queen's Official Birthday, is celebrated in many Commonwealth countries around the world. It is a public holiday in countries and territories such as Australia, New Zealand, and Gibraltar, although on different dates.
What do people do?
The Queen's birthday is celebrated in all territories and many states in Australia on the second Monday of June, except Western Australia, which celebrates the day on September 29 (unless otherwise proclaimed by the state governor). In Melbourne, an Australian Football League (AFL) match may occur on the day, drawing in crowds of people to watch the game live at a football stadium.
In New Zealand, the holiday is the first Monday in June and usually serves as the opening weekend to the country's ski season. It is a time for many people to take advantage of a long weekend by taking short breaks or visiting friends and family. An honors list is released on Queen's Birthday to recognize those who contributed in significant ways to the nation. In Canada Victoria Day is celebrated in honor of the birthdays of both Queen Victoria and the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. However, it is not widely known that Victoria Day is intended to honor the current queen as well as Queen Victoria, who was born May 24, 1819.
The Queen's official birthday is a public holiday in Gibraltar and some other British overseas territories. Bermuda used to observe the Queen's birthday holiday (the last time was in 2008). There have been petitions calling for the government to retain the Queen's birthday holiday since then.
In the Falkland Islands, the actual day of the Queen's birth, April 21, is celebrated, as June is a late autumn and winter month in region. 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 still celebrates the Queen's birthday, although she is no longer the head of state but is recognized as Paramount Chief.
In countries and territories such as Australia, New Zealand, and Gibraltar, the Queen's birthday is a public holiday, so public offices, banks, schools, and many businesses are closed on these days. Some public transport services, such as trains and buses, generally run on a Sunday timetable, particularly in urban areas. In cities such as Melbourne, in Australia, extra trains are provided on the day to cater for crowds coming into the city to watch football matches.
In Australia, the day has been celebrated since 1788, when Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark the birthday of King George III. Until 1936 it was held on the actual birthday of the Monarch, but after the death of King George V it was decided to keep the date at mid-year.
In reality, Queen Elizabeth II's real birthday is neither in June nor October but in April. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the House of Windsor was born on April 21, 1926. In 1952, on the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne and today she is best known as Queen Elizabeth II. She is also referred to by many as the Queen.
In some countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, images of Queen Elizabeth II are found on currency coins and notes, as well as stamps. Those who have a special interest in the British monarchy may collect memorabilia, such as porcelain tea collections, with images of the Queen and/or the Royal Family.
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