Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 1905. EMPIRE DAY.
To-day the colony celebrated m a perfunctory fashion the anniversary of the birth of the late Queen. The only place where the day was taken seriously appeared to be m the schools, where an attempt was made to impress the children with tho significance of the term " Empire Day " by assembling them m the playgrounds m the morning and going through the ceremony of saluting the flag. Whatever may be said ngainst increasing tho number of holidays which we already enjoy m this colony, we do not think any objection can be urged against tho proposal to set apart one day m the year throughout the British Empire, m which to cultivate those Imperial and patriotic sentiments which have helped to make the British race what it is to-day. The birthday of the late Queen Victoria is an eminently suitable day for such a purpose, for it was during her lengthy reign that the growth of the Imperial idea was especially marked. Moreover, what is known m history as the Victorian era will always be famous for achievements of its own m art, science, and literature, as with the new century we entered on a new reign and a new epoch. The day chosen for Empire Day also comes at a convenient season of the year, midway between two holiday seasons, the only qualification of this statement being that the birthday of the Prince of Wales falls less than a fortnight later. It has been suggested, however, that it would bo advisable to drop that day out of the list of holidays m favour of the proposed Empire Day, as -the anniversary of the birth of the late Queen has many more claims to be celebrated for the purpose indicated, than the birthday of the heir apparent. It is to be hoped that by the time the nest anniversary of Empire Day comes round, an effort will have been made to secure its celebration not only m the schools but everywhere, m a manner befitting the purpose it is intended to serve. The day should be a close holiday throughout the colony, and it might be advisable to hold military displays of some kind or other m the various towns, so that the significance of the day might be marked effectively and impressively m the minds of the younger members of the State. The proposnl to celebrate one day m the year as Empire Day cannot fairly be regarded as open to the charge of Jingoism, although those unpatriotic persons who have been dubbed " Little Englanders " may be ready enough to raiße that cry. It is no self glorification on the part of the British people when they claim to be the greatest colonising race, that has appeared m the history of the world, for it is their achievements m that line that hava been at once the envy and despair of other nations. To quote once more that hackneyed but expressive description, the British Empire is the only Empire that has yet been seen on which the sun never 6etß. It is indeed something that even the " Little Eaglanders" would not readily forgo to be reckoned among the units that go to make up the vust kingdom over which King Edward rules. When an Empire attains to the size and extent of our own, there is always the possibility that its own massiveness may make it difficult to keep such a vast conglomeiation together, and one reason why it is advisable to hold such a day as Empire Day is that there is a danger that at some date m the future the forces of disruption may begin to make their influence felt, and though it is not likely that they would succeed m effecting any dire results, it is well to cultivate the Imperialistic spirit among the rising generation throughout the Empire against the possible appearance of such disruptive agencies. The holding of such ceremonies as those which took place at the various schools of the colony to-day is an excellent idea as far as it goes ; but it does not reach those younger mambers of the community whose school days are over, and who have entered on the serious business of life. To make such an anniversary as Empire Day an impressive and live emblem of Imperialism some effective mode of celebrating the day is required, and it is to be hoped that next year will see the requisite steps taken m the direction of making May 21th an important public holiday.