Should we have our own public holidays?

I saw a brief bit on the news about the reverend Kenneth Meshoe and his cronies moaning about the possibility that Christmas and Easter may no longer be public holidays. It’s an attack on their religion, they say. Trust Meshoe to always represent the forces of backwardness.

Anyway, perhaps skeptics and secularists should start insisting that their favourite days also be public holidays? We nowadays represent a substantial minority. Why not declare Darwin’s birthday a public holiday?

Or perhaps the good reverend and his pals should accept that we live in a secular society. Perhaps the state shouldn’t formally recognize any religious holidays? How about everybody gets 10 or 12 paid holidays per year, which they can use as they see fit? Then everyone’s happy. Or at least, everyone SHOULD be - you can be sure Meshoe and his pals will keep right on bitterly complaining.

I think once the dust settles people will get used to the idea.

You don’t hear them yammering on about the local shop being open on sundays, etc…

I just had a business idea about which you can be sure they’ll yammer. How about a magazine titled Blasphemy, and that is dedicated to blaspheming against any and all gods, and to poking fun at religions?

It’s a sure winner. The main market for it will be irate Christians and Muslims, who will buy it partly simply to burn it in public, but also partly because they LIKE to be offended. It gives them an excuse to take to the streets and angrily condemn the rest of us. They will hate Blasphemy magazine, but will not be able to stop themselves from buying copies.

Of course, in many jurisdictions it will be banned, but there are always servers somewhere on the web that will host it. Print magazines are on their way out anyway.

So how about it? Do we have some people here with publishing experience? >:D

Having two Christian public holidays and none for people of other convictions is discriminatory, but it would be difficult to get around it. The last thing we need is more public holidays, yet the Easter long weekend and Christmas have become so traditional and tourism built around it to such an extent, that I don’t see either abolished. What should change, is the Sunday status of these two public holidays (and Sundays in general). In most provinces and many municipalities there are prohibitions on the sale of liquor, the use of power tools, etc. on Sundays. I recall a time when pubs were not allowed to open on Sundays. You would go to Durban for the Easter long weekend, and all the night entertainment would be close on the Friday and Sunday and had to close by midnight on the Saturday.

Fundies often insist that atheism is a religion. Well, perhaps atheists should agree - and then vehemently insist that their religion be respected like everyone else’s. That means everyone has to respect atheist saints like Darwin, and official recognition of atheist holy days. :slight_smile:

As for Christmas and Easter, I don’t think they necessarily need to be public holidays, but as I mentioned before, perhaps everyone should have the right to a certain number of holidays which they can use as they see fit. That way, Christians can still get a day off to celebrate their holy days, but so can everyone else.

And yes, it is indeed frustrating when the entire bloody economy comes tom a standstill on certain days of the year. Just one more reason why I kind of hate Christmas. This year I am considering telling my family that I’m going to visit with friends for Christmas, and telling my friends I’ll be visiting with family, and that way get out of Christmas altogether. I can do with a peaceful day to myself. :slight_smile:

FYI, here’s a column I wrote on this at the time the CRL was tasked with looking at this issue:

Ah, come on! How can anyone not like Christmas? It’s so wonderfully kitch and festive! The paper hats, the smell of the garishly decorated pine branch, the cold tongue and sweet mustard, and the lame presents. Simply marvelous. And besides, what you gonna do for kicks if Christmas gets swapped out with, say, Newton day? Play with prisms the whole afternoon? Participate in the traditional apple drop? Solve differential equations? Not for me, thanks!


Xmas, Easter and New Year is so part of our lives that most people would not include it in their 10 or 12 days. This way they can get an extra few days and do more damage.

Why is Xmas celebrated on 25 December? If our caledar is measured from the birth of Jesus, then Xmas must be on 1 January. That, of course, is besides not knowing in which year Jesus was born.

Good article, and well argued. But if anyone disrespects St. Charles one more time, we’ll all swarm into the street, thumping copies of “Origin” and then burn down the Saudi embassy… :slight_smile:

For some reason, I find the festive season monstrously depressing. I don’t mind that there is a Christmas, I just wish people would leave me in peace on that day. :slight_smile:

Anyway, on Newton Day we can use a reflecting telescope to look for strange new stars. :slight_smile:

Now THERE’S a plan … a festive star party! :slight_smile:


Planning a star party is a sure way to attract the rain gods. In fact, I have been thinking of renting out my services to drought-stricken farmers.

Good business plan, just a pity that Mel Gibson thought of it first.

Well in the case of atheists it is actually not discriminatory. We get extra days off for free and don’t even have to go to a church. We get a “other people are stupid” bonus holiday, a little compensation for the shit we suffer all year long.

If not for christian holidays we would have no reason to take off. No, Newton day could not be argued to be a “religious” holiday. And besides, we get Newton day off already. Holiday too.

.... In most provinces and many municipalities there are prohibitions on the sale of liquor, the use of power tools, etc. on Sundays.

Yeah those wine racks in PnP beckoning you only to be met by an angry worker explaining that you can’t have wine “right now” because jesus says so. Go freck yourself and besides, Jesus MADE wine, the guy liked to party!

What I REALLY want banned is Boney M in malls. “Christmas cheer” is mildly irritating, seeing malls decked out in green and red in october is a bit WTF, but Boney-M when I all I want is a loaf of bread is just cruel and unusual punishment.

I’m kind a with Rigil. I used to hate xmas but I gave that up and decided to enjoy myself anyway.

… And now for the rational bit: There are entire industries (like Building) that shut down over xmas. It’s the perfect opportunity to sync up all related sectors (builders, plumbers, crane operators, architects, project managers, etc. etc.) at the same time to take some time off. I’m sure there are other examples of this, but can’t think of any right now. However you can’t argue with the logic of doing this. Also what chaos would prevail if schools had to accomodate the holidays of all the different religions?

I have to admit, it is pretty cool to go on holiday to the coast without the entire country trying to go with. Something you can do if you don’t have kids yet, but I can see myself losing that priviledge at some point.

Burning online magazines can get really expensive unless you read and and burn on a very cheap and nasty tablet…

That’s one of the disadvantages of living at the coast: the wholesale takeover of amenities by the invading hordes. It’s impossible to even get to the video store during the December holidays (thank the boffins for uncapped internet and piratebay), the roads are impassable and everything all of a sudden gets twice as expensive. That’s why I don’t take leave during school holidays (kids grown and buggered off), just go to work as usual and hunker down at home. Then take a couple of weeks off in Feb. when the crowds have gone.

But back to the point–we have no business in a secular state making religious holidays official. There’s nothing to stop Christians celebrating these days if they so wish, just as Hindus are celebrating Diwali now. Remove these holidays from the calendar and legislate two days of extra annual leave and Bob’s your uncle.

"we have no business in a secular state making religious holidays official. There's nothing to stop Christians celebrating these days if they so wish, just as Hindus are celebrating Diwali now. Remove these holidays from the calendar and legislate two days of extra annual leave and Bob's your uncle.
100% Stones...don't know abt Bob tho! ;)