Friday, April 23, 2010

National Holidays and the Art of Manipulation

April 23rd is Children's Day in Turkey, and a holiday for schools and all civil servants. And since this year's holiday falls on a Friday, it's a long weekend! My foreign colleagues and I are spending the weekend at the beach, or taking an overnight trip to another city; some are staying put and enjoying three wonderful days at home.

Either way, it's wonderful to have this unexpected holiday every year -- unexpected because I always forget about it until the last minute. Unlike Canada's holidays -- Labour Day and Thanksgiving in the fall, Easter and Victoria Day in the spring, and of course Canada Day and the arbitrary Civic holiday in August -- which have been ingrained in me to the point that my subconscious expects them, Turkey's holidays still seem random to me.

Take next month's May 19th holiday, Youth and Sports Day and the Commemoration of Atatürk, which falls on a Wednesday, giving us a mid-week break. Although I'm certainly not going to complain about a day off, wouldn't it be nicer hitched on to a weekend?

Everyone knows that the May 24th weekend falls around May 24th, because Victoria Day always falls on a Monday. Labour Day and the August Civic holiday are likewise always celebrated on Mondays. If you ask me, this is masterful.

Unfortunately, Turkey stays true to its holidays' real dates. In fact, whenever a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you 'lose' the holiday, since you're off for the weekend anyway! We Canadians, by contrast, have somehow convinced our government to give us the first working day after the holiday off! Genius.

1 comment:

  1. I made my students write a journal entry on why "Children's Day" was important.

    One student wrote that it is because the holiday shows that Ataturk adores him (proper grammar and spelling mine).

    I thought that was sweet.