03 October 2010

Some Sort Of Holiday Weekend

Yeah! Three-day weekend! Why? I honestly have no idea. Apparently it's some sort of holiday here in Oz. A quick google search returned the result: "Today Is Labour Day." I couldn't find a single Australian who could tell me what we were specifically honoring as a nation, much less WHY we were honoring it.

I find this to be a very real trend all over the World. In the western world these random "off" days are schedule far in advance and we all look forward to them. Memorial Day BBQ in the USA and Labour Day back to school. Boxing Day and another two hundred public or bank holidays in the UK means you almost don't work more than you do work (Also, boxing day has NOTHING to do with the sport of boxing). We're "honoring" things but all we're really honoring is a chance to not go into the office. Why even name the holidays anymore? Do most people even take notice?

In the non-western world (my goodness, when you right it that way it sounds really judgmental) holidays just seem to pop up last minute, but everyone knows EXACTLY WHY they're celebrating. Every October and February they would call a week-long holiday in China 3 or 4 days before the week-long holiday would begin. Chaos would ensue, but they all knew they were honoring New Year on one week and communism on the other. In Thailand, following the death of a member of the Royal Family, the government called for 100 days of mourning where everyone - EVERYONE - had to wear all black all the time BY LAW. By day 72 it was hard to remember why everyone was still doing what they were doing.

So alas, here I am in a new land with new holidays and because they're fresh for me, I'm taking the time to figure out exactly what they're for and spreading the news like wildfire. It's amazing how we suddenly care/invest/engage with people, places, and ideas when they're either not our own or very new to us. Makes me want to sort out our American holidays too! At least it's a day off...

Pic from here: http://www.freewebs.com/fergieboy10/HappyCow[1].jpg

Kyle Taylor


Andy Hudson said...

"Boxing Day and another two hundred public or bank holidays in the UK means you almost don't work more than you do work"

Actually there are only 8 public holidays in England; c.f. 10 federal holidays in the US and 9 public holidays in Australia.

Just saying :-)

Gretchen said...

Haha, this happened in Ukraine all the time. We had pre-scheduled holidays, but then sometimes at the last minute the government would extend the holiday or whatever. It was especially true in the schools. They would close school or pull kids out of class ALL THE TIME for all kinds of reasons!

Kyle Taylor said...

What about adding in bank holidays Andy? I just felt like there was ALWAYS a bank holiday on!

Gretchen - developing world is THE BEST.