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Natal Day not a holiday for everyone

It's the holiday that isn't. Monday marks Natal Day, a civic holiday aimed towards celebrating the birthdays of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Held on the first Monday in August, it's not an official holiday and generally isn't a paid day off. It's not surprising that most businesses in Pictou County remain open for the day, while government buildings close down. The News also won't be publishing Monday.

It's the holiday that isn't.

Monday marks Natal Day, a civic holiday aimed towards celebrating the birthdays of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Held on the first Monday in August, it's not an official holiday and generally isn't a paid day off. It's not surprising that most businesses in Pictou County remain open for the day, while government buildings close down. The News also won't be publishing Monday.

But while Natal Day is generally a more widely spread holiday in Halifax, where it's become the city's birthday bash, that's not where its roots lie. The party actually began more than 100 years ago, to celebrate the arrival of a railroad linking Musquodoboit to Dartmouth.

The two celebrations became linked, making it a tradition.

The first Monday in August is a long weekend in many other provinces as well under a different name, including B.C. Day in British Columbia, Civic Holiday in Ontario, Heritage Day in Alberta and Saskatchewan Day in Saskatchewan.

The name Natal Day gained popularity in 1899 with the publication of Centenary Ode, by Halifax poet laureate John A. Bell. The first line is: "Once more we greet thee, Natal Day. The claim to greet thee ours alone."

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