Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Brazil's Sergipe State Vetoes New Public Holidays For Saint John and Saint Peter

Sources: Infonet Notícias and Brazil public holidays. The governor of the State of Sergipe, dr. Déda, has announced that he would veto the bill making both the dates of Saint John (June 24) and Saint Peter (June 29) new national public holidays in Brazil.

Analysis: The State of Sergipe is small (in fact it is the smallest of Brazil's states), and this bill, introduced in June, at the national level has already made it through committee and was passed by the lower house. So the impact of this veto should not be overstated. Yet, it does seem like another of the scattered, but ever louder, criticisms of Brazil's chaotic management of its holidays (for a one week review, see our news post of April 27).

A recent bill to change the way mid-week public holidays are determined, might be the way to reduce the chaos and uncertainty, now that the other contender for the most chaotic country in the world, public holidays-wise, The Philippines, has passed a law to rationalize its own public holidays.

Iran Day Of National Mourning Today

Sources: Press TV and Iran public holidays. Following the death, yesterday afternoon, of senior cleric and official Ayatollah Ali Akbar Meshkini, the Iranian government has declared one day of national mourning, and a 2-day public mourning has also been declared in the province of Qom, where the late Ayatollah lived.

Sudan To Declare July 30 Public Holiday In The South Starting Next Year

Sources: Sudan Tribune and Sudan public holidays. The Sudan’s First Vice President and President of the government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), Salva Kiir Mayardit, announced that the July 30th day will be a national holiday in entire southern Sudan to be observed annually as "National Martyr’s Day".

Analysis: This is not the first time that Sudan’s First Vice President and President of the government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, announces a "public holiday henceforth" on the date of that holiday, at a major public speech (see our news story of May 17). It is surely a crowd-pleaser, but whether he will come through on that promise remains to be seen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Australia's ACT Moves Ahead With Melbourne Cup Public Holiday

Sources: The Age and Australia public holidays. Despite some predictable, but low-key, protests from the business community, the ACT government has gone through the final steps needed to make Melbourne Cup Day (the first Tuesday in November) a public holiday in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) as we had reported in our news post of April 5.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Brazil Considering New Public Holiday On November 20

Sources: Última Instância and Brazil public holidays. A new law, Projeto de Lei 330/07, soon to be reviewed by the Câmara dos Deputados (Legislative Assembly), would make the Día Nacional de la Conciencia Negra (National Day of Black Self-Awareness), on November 20, into a full national public holiday.

Analysis: The Día Nacional de la Conciencia Negra marks the anniversary of the assassination, in 1695, of the activists for the abolition of slavery, Zumbi, do Quilombo dos Palmares, and that date was granted a special status, in 2005, through the Projeto de Lei 6369/05.

However, as of today, it is officially celebrated as a public holiday in only 225 of Brazil's 5561 cities and municipalities, including Río de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, where it had been an official municipal public holiday since 2003.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mozambique Elections Postponed Due To Eid Al Ahda Muslim Holiday

Sources: Agencia de Informacão de Moçambique and Mozambique public holidays. In our news story of July 12, we reported how the Muslim community of Mozambique was pressuring the government to change the date of provincial elections, set for December 20, the day when the Eid Al Adha Muslim holiday is expected to be declared (depending on naked eye sighting of the Moon). In that context, it was announced, earlier this week that Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, has postponed the first elections for provincial assemblies from 20 December, 2007, to 16 January, 2008 (right at the peak of the rainy season).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ivory Coast Declares July 30 Public Holiday

References: AllAfrica.com, Le Nouveau Réveil, and Ivory Coast public holidays. The Prime Minister of The Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), Guillaume Soro, announced in an article published in today's local newspapers, that he would petition the President of The Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, to make Monday, July 30, 2007, a one-off public holiday to allow as many people as possible to participate in the "Flamme de la Paix" (Peace Flame) ceremony in Bouaké.

Update (2007/07/27): This has now been confirmed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Philippines Public Holidays Undergo Major Changes

Sources: Sun Star, Asian Journal, and Philippines public holidays. Earlier today, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) signed Republic Act 9492, "An Act Rationalizing the Celebration of National Holidays", into law.

Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, said that R.A. No. 9492, which amends Section 26, Chapter 7, Book I of Executive Order No. 292, also known as the Administrative Code, will take effect 15 days following its publication in at least two newspapers.

This law now make the so-called Holiday Economics, or the practice of shifting holiday observances, into official government policy, and mandates that most holidays, except those with religious significance, will be shifted to the nearest Monday.

Public holidays that will be observed on the date on which they fall -- are Christmas Day (December 25), New Year's Eve (December 31), New Year's Day (January 1), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Eid'l Fitr and All Saints Day (November 1).

The law also specifies that, for movable holidays - like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Eid'l Fitr or end of Ramadan - the President shall issue a proclamation at least six months prior to the concerned holiday.

Afghanistan Declares 3 Days of National Mourning

Sources: The Daily Times and Afghanistan public holidays. Following the July 23 death of former King, Mohammad Zahir Shah, who reigned for 40 years until 1973, Afghanistan's President, Hamid Karzai, announced three days of national mourning for the former king and ordered flags to be flown at half mast. These 3 day will not, however, be public holidays.

Poland declares 3 Days of National Mourning

Sources: EuroNews and Poland public holidays. Poland's president is calling for the cancellation of all entertainment events during three days of national mourning (July 24-26, 2007) for the 26 pilgrims killed in a bus crash in the French Alps. This will not be a public holiday.

July 24 Selected For UK's Volunteer Day Pulic Holiday

Sources: The Telegraph and UK public holidays. Following up on our news story of June 27, the new UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has announced that he is set to make July 24 a national day for celebrating volunteering - and possibly make it a new bank holiday (in the UK, bank holidays are full, national, public holidays, as the rest of the world knows them).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nepal May Declare November 22 One-Off Election Public Holiday

Sources: The Hindustan Times, Bhutan public holidays and Nepal public holidays. As preparation for the upcoming November 22 Constituent Assembly election, Nepal's Election Commission conducted its first of a planned series of mock elections, on Saturday at Pharping, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, in a process acknowledged by Chief Election Commissioner, Bhoj Raj Pokharel, to be inspired by neighboring Bhutan's recent mock elections.

Analysis: As it seems that Nepal's political parties in Nepal are happy with the Election Commission's mock exercise, it is likely, that in keeping with the precedent in Bhutan, Nepal may declare the day of the upcoming elections, Thursday, November 22, 2007, as a one-off public holiday to achieve maximal voter participation.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Guadeloupe's Saint-Barthélemy and Saint Martin Officially Independent

Sources: Le Figaro and Guadeloupe public holidays. A ceremony was held last week to officialize the new status the islands of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint Martin, previously communes of Guadeloupe. Following a 2003 referendum, and its implementation in February 2007 by France's parliament, the 2 islands have now been granted the TOM (Territoire d'Outre-Mer) status meaning that they can pass territorial laws, control their fiscal policy, choose to stay in, or leave the EU (the European Union), and declare their own public holidays.

Analysis: For the moment, Saint-Barthélemy looks like it might opt to leave the EU, but neither island has hinted that it would make any changes to the public holidays observed, which we can assume will remain those of Guadeloupe for the time being.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Puerto Rico: First Civil Service Announcement Of A July 26 Bridge Holiday

Sources: El Nuevo Día and Puerto Rico public holidays. There are 2 public holidays, next week, in Puerto Rico: Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución del ELA) on Wednesday July 25, and Barbosa Day (Natalicio del médico anexionista José Celso Barbosa) on Friday July 27. As expected, we now have the first announcement from civil servants that the in-between day will be taken as a bridge public holiday. A few hours ago, the President of the Supreme Court, Federico Hernández Denton, announced that all tribunals and their personnel would be taking Thursday July 26 as a bridge public holiday, enabling them to be on holiday from Tuesday night July 24, until Monday morning July 30.

Analysis: Note that we can expect other administrations to either follow suit and declare a bridge public holiday, early next week, or for most of their workers to take the day off anyways. This analysis is indirectly borne out by the Dominican Republic's Board of Tourism which announced that it was extending its famous Festival Brugal del Merengue to coincide with Puerto Rico's expected 5-day holiday.

Swaziland Declares July 23 Day In Lieu Public Holiday

Sources: The Swazi Observer and Swaziland public holidays. It has been reported that Monday, July 23, 2007, has been declared as a day in lieu public holiday, as the July 22 public holiday for the Birthday of the King's Late Father falls on a Sunday, this year.

Botswana's BPP Calls For A Public Holiday On Next Election

Sources: Republic of Botswana and Botswana public holidays. The Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) has resolved to call a special congress sometimes this year and has called for the gazetting of election day as a public holiday to enable more people to vote.

Analysis: Based on the pattern of past elections, the next parliamentary elections can be expected in the second half of October 2009. We will announce the date of the next election as soon as it is made available, and whether or not a public holiday has been gazetted or not.

Iran: Renewed Attempts To Cancel Nowruz Public Holiday (Iranian New Year)

Sources: Rooz and Iran public holiday. There have been multiple recent reports in the Iranian blogsphere that Ayatollah Khazali, a former member of the powerful Guardians Council and the Experts Assembly for Leadership (Majles Khobregan Rahbari), once again has proposed that the celebration of Ghadir should replace the traditional Iranian celebration of Nowruz, the traditional Iranian new year.

Analysis: When analyzing public pronouncements in Iran, it is always hard to determine, what is posturing and jockeying for position in the theocratic food chain, and what is a precursor sign of a change to come. In any event, this latest pronouncement is not a surprise in itself, and it is coherent with efforts made in other countries to eradicate cultures pre-dating conquest (such as Algeria's repression of the celebration of Berber public holidays). We will continue to monitor any further developments.

Spain's Galicia Determines 2008 Regional Public Holidays

Sources: El Correo Gallego and Spain public holidays. The Galicia Autonomous Region's Xunta announced its selection of regional holidays for 2008, which will see the return of Día de San José (May 19) as a regional public holiday in Galicia, as well as the more frequently occurring Día das Letras Galegas (May 17, a Saturday, in 2008).

Analysis: There are 2 "standby" regional public holidays in Galicia: Día das Letras Galegas (May 17) and Día de San José (May 19), to be used in that order of preference, if any of the national public holidays should fall on a Sunday. Both were chosen in 2008, due to the fact that 2 of the national public holidays occur on a Sunday in 2008, Día de Reyes (Epiphany on January 6) and Día de la Hispanidad (October 12).

Recall that Spanish regions, towns, villages and cities can each have additional public holidays of their own. There is a base of, usually 9, public holidays that are common to all regions of Spain, plus Epiphany and Maundy Thursday which each region can replace with one or two region-specific public holidays. Regions also have the option of adding a regional public holiday, without removing any of the common ones, or Epiphany and Maundy Thursday.

The main reason why the specific public holidays for each province and municipality change every year, such as is the case here, is that these are usually patron saint days, which always occur on a fixed date. Therefore, when these fixed dates fall on a weekend, another holiday or patron saint is chosen for that year, to avoid "wasting" a holiday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vatican Moves Ireland's Patron Saint Day, Saint Patrick's Day, To March 15, 2008

Sources: Ireland.com, Ireland public holidays, Northern Ireland public holidays, and UK public holidays. In an extremely rare coincidence, next year, March 17, the traditional date of Ireland's Patron Day Saint, Saint Patrick, will coincide with the second day of the Holy Week (the week running from Palm Sunday to Easter). The Vatican has therefore decreed that Saint Patrick's Day would be observed on March 15, 2008, instead of the traditional date of March 17.

Under the Catholic Church's rules, the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, the saint's feast day does not rank as high as the Monday before Easter and had to be moved (the last time Saint Patrick's Day had to be moved was in 1940 when it was changed to April 3 rd because it coincided with Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week).

In strict accordance with the rules, next year's St Patrick's Day should have been moved to the next available day in the Catholic Church's calendar, which is April 1st. But senior Irish clerics were anxious to keep the date as close as possible to the international civic celebrations, which are often planned many years in advance.

The group behind the St Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin has announced that there would be no change to their plans for a parade on March 17.

Analysis: It is unclear, yet, if this will have an effect on the 2 principal regions where Saint Patrick's Day is an official public holiday (the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland). Normally, as March 17 is a Monday, there would be no reason to move the public holiday, but we will continue to monitor further developments.

Marshall Islands Declares 7-Day Period Of National Mourning

Sources: Pacific Magazine and Marshall Islands public holidays. Marshall Islands' President, Kessai H. Note, through Executive Order NO. 2007-02, has declared that all flags in the Republic fly at half-mast for a period of National Mourning from July 17, 2007 through July 23, 2007, on the passing of the late Senator Fountain Inok. This period of national mourning will not be a public holiday, in the sense that stores, businesses and the government will continue to run on a regular schedule.

Brazil Declares 3-Day National Mourning Period

Sources: O Globo Online and Brazil public holidays. Late on Tuesday, Brazil's President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, declared the next 3 days, July 18-20, 2007, to be days of national mourning in homage to the approximately 200 people who died when a TAM airliner crashed into a building at the end of the runway at São Paulo's Congonhas airport. This period of national mourning will not be a public holiday, in the sense that stores, businesses and the government will continue to run on a regular schedule.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pakistan's Bajaur Province Declares Shariah Law And Forces Friday Closings

Sources: Le Figaro and Pakistan public holidays. Upset by President Musharraf's actions in the recent Red Mosque, Muslim extremist parties have taken control of the Bajaur district and instituted strict Shariah law. One of the first measures taken by the new, de facto, authorities of the district, is that Fridays are now the weekly day of rest and that all businesses should be closed on those days.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Jordan Declares Public Holiday For July 31 Nationwide Municipal Elections

Sources: The Jordan Times and Jordan public holidays. Yesterday, Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, announced that Jordan had declared Tuesday, July 31, 2007, a one-off national public holiday to enable as many people as possible to participate in the upcoming nationwide municipal elections to be held on that same day.

Parliamentary elections will be held around the end of November 2007, and the Prime Minister hinted that a public holiday might also be declared on that occasion, but he also stressed that he did not want to announce the date of the parliamentary elections now, so that people stay focused on the municipal elections.

China's Tourism Stocks Boosted By Golden Weeks Public Holidays Review

Sources: China Knowledge and China public holidays. Tourism and hotel related stocks have reacted positively to the news that the Golden Week public holidays were being reviewed (see our news post of July 1).

This positive reaction from travel related companies makes the proposed changes more likely, as the justification for Golden Week public holidays, when they were introduced in 1999, and since then, has always been to stimulate internal consumption in the form of increased internal tourism.

It would seem that travel and tourism analysts feel that Chinese people have gotten used to traveling to their family of Golden Week holidays, and that reducing the number of days for each of these public holidays from 7 days to 3 days, will not make them stop traveling. Clearly they are hoping that some people will also travel on the other new public holidays as well. As most travel is to family members' homes, little hotel business is generated during these Golden Week public holidays and analysts probably hope that shorter holidays will mean more short-distance travel to hotels. In any case, as the number of days of public holidays in China would remain the same, hotel stocks have not been otherwise hit.

Recall that the changes under consideration, to begin in 2009, would have the week-long May Day public holiday would be shortened to one day and the October National Day public holiday to two days. In compensation for these shortened public holidays, the Mid-Autumn Festival would be made into a public holiday as well as 2 other traditional festivals.

The shortening of "Marxist" (or at least not traditionally Chinese) public holidays, to elevate traditional Chinese festival holidays, and Confucian festival holidays, to the status of full public holidays, follows a trend initiated in Hong Kong, where the Chinese Central Government hinted that it would allow for the replacement of one of the current public holidays with one for the Birthday of Confucius (see our news post of April 23).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Upcoming Mozambique Elections Date Clashes With Eid al-Adha Muslim Holiday

Sources: Agencia de Informacão de Moçambique and Mozambique public holidays. The date of Thursday, December 20, 2007, was recently announced by Mozambique President, Armando Guebuza, for the upcoming elections. However, that date is also the most likely date of Eid al-Adha, one of the most sacred days of the year for Muslims.

Sheik Abdul Carimo Sau, of the Islamic Council of Mozambique, urged the government to change the date of the elections, since Muslims account for about 18 per cent of the Mozambican population, and holding elections on the date of Eid al-Adha risks an unnecessary increase in abstention. But the Sheik did not suggest an alternative date.

The leader of a minor opposition party, the ALIMO, proposed that the elections be moved to Saturday or Sunday, December 22 or 23, but holding the election so close to Christmas, and on a weekend, does not seem a solution either.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Brazil Votes To Change Occurrence of Mid-Week Public Holidays

Sources: Comissões de Educação e Cultura and Brazil public holidays. Late last week, the Education and Culture Commission of Brazil's Chamber of Deputies, approved a bill (Projeto de Lei 7609/06) aimed at reducing the occurrence of extended holidays, by moving most of Brazil's public holidays to the preceding Monday, if they occur on a Tuesday, or to the next Friday if they fall on a Wednesday or Thursday.

The law would exclude from this mechanism, public holidays that are deemed unmovable: January 1, September 7, December 25, Good Friday and Corpus Christi, leaving the public holidays that are based on the following dates to be governed by this law: April 21, May 1, October 12, November 2, and November 15.

Analysis: Note that a similar bill (Projeto de Lei 659/07) had been tabled in early January 2007, which would move all public holidays that fall in mid-week to the previous Monday. But this bill was rejected by the commission in favour of the earlier bill, which is similar to the mechanism used by many South American countries to move their mid-week public holidays.

Taiwan Legislature Approves July 15 Memorial Day

Sources: Radio Taiwan International and Taiwan public holidays. Earlier today, Taiwan's Legislature declared Sunday, July 15, 2007, as a Memorial Day to mark the twentieth anniversary of the end of martial law in Taiwan (1949-1987). Premier, Chang Chun-hsiung, however said this Memorial Day would not be a public holiday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chile May Declare September 17 Bridge Public Holiday

Sources: Radio Cooperativa and Chile public holidays. A bill has been introduced by a group of UDI (Unión Demócrata Independiente) parliamentarians, to make Monday, September 17, 2007, a one-off bridge public holiday in Chile. This, to allow for a 5-day holiday, as Tuesday and Wednesday, September 18 and 19, are annual public holidays in Chile.

Philippines: July 16 Day In Lieu Public Holiday In Cordillera Administrative Region

Sources: Sun Star Baguio and Philippines public holidays. Late last week, Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, signed Proclamation 1324, declaring Monday, July 16, 2007, as special non-working day in the Cordillera Administrative Region, in celebration of the region's 20th foundation anniversary (in lieu of the usual date of July 15, which falls on a Sunday in 2007).

Venezuela July 11 Public Holiday in Bolívar State

Sources: Radio Nacional de Venezuela and Venezuela public holidays. The Governor of the State of Bolívar, Francisco Rángel Gómez, has issued regional executive decree 199, making Wednesday, July 11, 2007, a full public holiday (día festivo no laborable) in the State of Bolívar, on the occasion of the semi-final game of the Copa América 2007 (Argentina versus México).

Monday, July 9, 2007

Brazil: July 13 Public Holiday in Rio De Janeiro

Sources: Terra and Brazil public holidays. Late last week, the State Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Sérgio Cabral, issued decree 40.842 which makes Friday, July 13, 2007, a one-day special public holiday (ponto facultativo), in the city of Rio de Janeiro, on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the Pan-American Games (Jogos Pan-Americanos).

Death of Former PM Of India: July 9 Karnataka Public Holiday and 7 Day National Mourning

Sources: DaijiWorld, The Hindu and India public holidays. Late Sunday night, July 8, the government of India announced a 7 day period of national mourning following the passing away of former Prime Minister of India, Chandra Shekhar Singh. In addition, the State of Karnataka has declared a public holiday for Monday, July 9, 2007.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Q++ Worldwide Public Holidays Database Review (July 7)

July 7, 2007: we conducted the full annual review of public holidays for the following countries and semi-autonomous territories: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Malawi Declares Friday Afternoons Public Holidays Henceforth For Muslims

Sources: Nyasa Times and Malawi public holidays. During yesterday's independence day celebration, Malawi's President, Bingu wa Mutharika, announced that henceforth Friday afternoons would be public holidays in Malawi for all Muslims. Analysis: This announcement was greeted with disdain by the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), which accused the President of appeasement of the Muslim community. Instead, Dr Imran Sharif, secretary general of MAM, was quoted as saying that what the Muslim community need from government is the declaration of public holidays to celebrate the traditional Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Qurban and the day for the birth of their Prophet Muhammad.

Nepal Declares July 8 Public Holiday Tomorrow In Kathmandu Valley

Sources: The Rising Nepal and Nepal public holidays. Late yesterday, the government of Nepal has decided to declare tomorrow, Sunday, July 8, 2007, a public holiday in Kathmandu Valley, on the occasion of the Bhoto Jatra ceremony that will be attended by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, in his capacity as the Head of the State, at Jawalakhel, Lalitpur. The Bhoto Jatra or displaying of the traditional bhoto (vest) of Rato Machchindranath is scheduled to take at 5:30 PM. Analysis: Recall that Sundays are regular working days in Nepal, the weekly day off being Saturday.

Q++ Worldwide Public Holidays Database Review (July 6)

July 6, 2007: we conducted the full annual review of public holidays for the following countries and semi-autonomous territories: Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sharply Reduced Hours For Nicaragua's Civil Service In July-August

Sources: Prensa Latina and Nicaragua public holidays. Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega ordered a reduction of the working day in the State institutions, to reduce the negative impact of energy cuts. Accordingly, all government work places will now close at 1pm (13:00) local time as of July 6, and for the duration of the month of July and August. The measure, is only officially applied in Managua, but the central government is exhorting other State powers and autonomous institutions to adjust their labor hours to the same schedule.

Chile: Law Proposed For June 24 Mapuche New Year Public Holiday

Sources: El Mostrador and Chile public holidays. A deputy of the Radical Social-Democratic Party, Fernando Meza, has introduced a bill in Chile's legislative assembly that would make June 24, the indigenous Mapuche New Year, a public holiday throughout Chile.

Analysis: This is part of a recent trend throughout South America to celebrate the local indigenous new year, which is usually based on the winter solstice, around June 21 (remember that seasons in South America are the opposite from the northern hemisphere). Peru already has a regional public holiday for Inti Raymi on June 24, and recently a bill was introduced in the Bolivian legislature to replace Corpus Christi public holiday with a public holiday to celebrate Indigenous New Year but it was scuttled by Catholics in the legislature (our news story of June 6). Finally, Venezuela got around the hurdle of either cancelling a public holiday or adding another public holiday, by renaming the October Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) into Día de la Resistencia Indígena.

As the examples of Bolivia and Venezuela show, adding a public holiday is a source of problems with the business community, while replacing an existing public holiday, most of which are Catholic, can cause a backlash from the more conservative elements of society. One very remote (in our opinion) possibility would be to replace the Army Day public holiday (in May) with Mapuche New Year. This holiday comes to mind, as it is less than a month away, and there have already been public statements about its possible cancellation (our news story of March 23).

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Q++ Worldwide Public Holidays Database Review (July 5)

July 5, 2007: we conducted the full annual review of public holidays for the following countries and semi-autonomous territories: England Gibraltar Guernsey and Alderney Ireland Isle of Man Jersey Northern Ireland Scotland United Kingdom Wales.

Q++ Worldwide Public Holidays Database Review (July 4)

July 4, 2007: we have finished the full annual review of public holidays for the following countries and semi-autonomous territories: Åland Denmark Faroe Islands Finland Greenland Iceland Norway Svalbard and Jan Mayen Sweden.

Russia's Sochi Declares July 5 Olympic Public Holiday

Sources: Fox Sports and Russia public holidays. A public holiday has been declared, on Thursday, July 5, 2007, in the city of Sochi, to celebrate the selection of Sochi as the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Venezuela July 6 Unofficial Bridge Public Holiday

Sources: Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias and Venezuela public holidays. In Venezuela, ever increasing numbers are expected to take a day off, on Friday July 6, 2007, to make a bridge between the July 5 public holiday and the week-end. Although not listed as such, this bridge has become an unofficial fixture of every summer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Swaziland's Reed Dance Public Holiday Possibly In Jeopardy

Sources: IOL and Swaziland public holidays. The new Children's Act, which came into effect this week, outlaws virginity testing of girls younger than the age of 16 and a person who fails to comply with the Act will be arrested, casting doubts about the future of the Umhlanga (aka. Reed Dance) festival and public holiday in Swaziland.

The Umhlanga (Reed Dance) Festival and public holiday attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists to KwaZulu-Natal. During it, thousands of young virgins make their way to King Goodwill Zwelithini's palace in Nongoma. Virginity testing is regarded as a major foundation for the Reed Dance Festival, and most of the girls who take part in the event are younger than 16.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Bhutan Election Public Holidays In February and March 2008

Sources: Reuters India and Bhutan public holidays. Bhutan's chief election commissioner, Kunzang Wangdi, told Reuters that voting in the first ever elections in Bhutan, would be held in two phases; in February, all registered political parties can contest, and then the two getting the most votes will face off in the second and final round in March.

Analysis: Recall from our news story of May 28, that after the first mock-elections, held on May 2, it was decided that henceforth a public holiday would be declared on the occasion of any general election. This means that we can expect a one-off public holiday in Bhutan in February 2008, and then a subsequent one-off public holiday in March 2008. As soon as these 2 dates are announced we will announce them to the subscribers to the Q++ Studio Worldwide Public Holidays Database.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pakistan July 2 Public Holiday (Unconfirmed)

Sources: National Australia Bank and Pakistan public holidays. There are unconfirmed reports that the State Bank of Pakistan announced that Monday, July 2, 2007 (today) had been declared as a bank holiday in Pakistan. However we have not been able to confirm this report.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

China May Cancel Two "Golden Week" Public Holidays Beginning In 2009

Sources: Xinhua, China Daily, and China public holidays. Zhang Hui, dean of the tourism administration department at Beijing International Studies University, told a forum in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province, that China's government is likely to scrap up its "golden week" public holiday system and make more traditional festivals into full public holidays by 2009.

The week-long May Day public holiday would be shortened to one day and the October National Day public holiday to two days, while the The Lunar New Year golden week public holiday (January/February) would be preserved.

In compensation for these shortened public holidays, there is a consensus that the Mid-Autumn Festival (September/October) should be made into a public holiday. The other 2 days lost as part of the above changes in Golden Week public holidays could be made-up by making 2 of the following festivals into full public holidays: the Lantern Festival (February/March), the Tomb-Sweeping Day (early April), the Dragon-Boat Festival (aka. Tuen Ng festival, in May/June) and the Chung Yeung Festival (aka. Double Nine Day, in October).

Oman Removes Ramadan Ban On Alcohol

Sources: ArabianBusiness.com and Oman public holidays. The Omani government has lifted its ban on alcohol consumption for the month of Ramadan, which will run from September 13 to October 12, inclusively, in Oman, in 2007. Tourists staying at selected hotels will be permitted to consume alcohol after sunset between 7pm and 2am.