Tuesday, July 31, 2007
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.
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
Sunday, July 29, 2007
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
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Update (2007/07/27): This has now been confirmed.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
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.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
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.
Analysis: 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
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
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.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
Friday, July 6, 2007
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
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
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.
The date of the Umhlanga (Reed Dance) public holiday is usually announced at the very last minute, but it has been forecast for September 3, 2007, by Q++ Studio.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
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
Sunday, July 1, 2007
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).