Posted by: scribe9 | June 6, 2010

How to celebrate?

Tomorrow’s the Queen’s Birthday. No cake and candles at Buckingham Palace; Christopher Robin won’t be there with Alice. The Trooping of the Colour isn’t until next weekend. Tomorrow’s a public holiday here, though, with no mail and no busses. As an American, I had no clue how to observe it. So, naturally, I went on line to find out how Kiwis celebrate on a late fall weekend.

The Hawkes’ Bay Pig Hunters 2010 Open Queen’s Birthday Hunt is over–the weighing was completed at the Hastings Deerstalkers Hall today, and included rabbits and possums shot by children. I assume that tomorrow people will be busy butchering and eating.  Last weekend one of my students shot his first possum, and he didn’t eat it–I don’t know whether people do–but he made a pillow with the fur.

Tomorrow’s the final day of the local Hot Rod show. We happened to drive by on our way to the coast (which was just as rainy and windy as the Oregon coast in early December), and noticed the ’57 Chevys, a Corvette, and a late-50s Fairlane.

The police are warning everyone to drive carefully, because of the carnage on the roads on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend last year–most of which was due to speeding, so there’s a speeding crackdown. Their theme is “Drive to Survive.”

Two Kiwis we talked to said the reason they still have a Queen is to get a day off. The Cambodian who owns the bakery gripes that she has to pay her employees for a day off.

A tradition of the Queen’s Birthday is publication of the Honours List of who will get an Order of Merit from New Zealand. It’s a very long list, of people who have contributed to all facets of New Zealand life, including volleyball and anesthesiology. The headliner is the head of a chain of butcher shops.

How do I plan to celebrate? Well, I need a few winter garments, so I’m heading to the local stores tomorrow. Just as in the US, virtually any three-day weekend is an excuse for retail sales. And I may even pay for something with a $20 dollar bill–that’s the one with the Queen’s picture on it.

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