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Natal Day in Canada

People of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia hold “birthday” parties for their province on the first Monday of August. Huge birthday cakes are prepared and distributed. Other events include communal meals, parades, sporting activities and firework displays.

Is Natal Day a Public Holiday?

Natal Day is a public holiday in Nova Scotia, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Various symbolic displays, including provincial flags, are seen on Natal Day.
Various symbolic displays, including provincial flags, are seen on Natal Day.
©iStockphoto.com/bkindler

What Do People Do?

Many types of events are organized on and around Natal Day and some of the cultural events last for a whole week at the end of July and/or the beginning of August. A large Natal Day festival is held in the Halifax and Dartmouth communities in Nova Scotia. It usually includes:

  • A large birthday cake.
  • Parades.
  • Communal breakfasts.
  • Live entertainment.
  • Festival tents.
  • Sporting and family activities.
  • Family events.
  • Fireworks displays around the Macdonald Bridge, which links Halifax and Dartmouth.

Special church services, sporting competitions and communal meals, including breakfasts, barbecues and suppers, are arranged in other areas.

Public Life

Natal Day is not a statutory holiday but many people in the province of Nova Scotia have a paid day off work. Post offices are closed and some stores may be open at reduced hours, depending on the local custom. Other types of businesses and organizations may be open or closed, depending on the arrangements they have made with their employees. Public transport services run to a reduced timetable and schools are closed as the first Monday in August falls in the middle of the summer holiday period. Large scale road races may lead to some road closures or diversions.

Background

Nova Scotia has been a member of the Canadian Confederation since its inception on July 1, 1867. The term "natal" is derived from the Latin word for birth and, hence, Natal Day is the official “birthday” of the province. The first Natal Day celebrations were organized in 1895 and were intended to mark the arrival of the railway line in the area. However, the construction works were delayed and the day became a celebration of the history of Halifax and the surrounding area.

Symbols

Various symbols are displayed at the larger Natal Day celebrations. These include Canada's national flag and the provincial flags of Nova Scotia. In Nova Scotia, the Angus L Macdonald Bridge, which connects Halifax and Dartmouth, is the center of many Natal Day activities and its image is widely seen on photographs of and posters for events during the first week of August.

Natal Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010MonAug 2Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2011MonAug 1Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2012MonAug 6Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2013MonAug 5Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2014MonAug 4Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2015MonAug 3Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2016MonAug 1Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2017MonAug 7Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2018MonAug 6Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2019MonAug 5Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia
2020MonAug 3Natal DayCommon local holidaysNova Scotia

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