Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DDYK 12/10 - Extra Days Off

Some of American's biggest holidays - Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day - are strictly American. Nobody else in the world celebrates those specific holidays on the exact same day for the exact same reason we do.

Taking that into consideration, it would make sense that the rest of the world gets days off of work that we here do not.

Curious? I was. So here's a list:

2nd Monday of January - Japan - Adults's Day: A celebration for all people who have turned 20 in the last year, which in Japanese culture is when they are officially considered adults.

February - India - Full Moon Day: A day to commemorate Buddhist teachings. I could explain the details of this "Magha Puja," but they're more complex than you probably care to hear about. They're definitely more complex than I care to write about.

February 6 - New Zealand - Waitangi Day: Day to recall an 1840 treaty signed by the native Maori people, which officially founded the country of New Zealand.

April - Switzerland - Sechselauten: Celebrates the beginning of spring. One of the more awesome things the Swiss do to celebrate is symbolically say goodbye to winter by draping a giant snowman in explosives, which they of course detonate shortly thereafter. I absolutely am not making this up.

May 5 - Mexico - Cinco de Mayo: Celebrates 1861 victory over French military, not the day Corona was invented, as is commonly mistaken. It's not the Mexican Indpendence Day (that's in September); just commemorating an important battle. Actually, in today's world it's more about celebrating Mexican history and culture.

May 24 - Canada - Victoria Day: Birthday of late Queen Victoria of Great Britain. They've been celebrating this since before confederacy, and people in Victoria, British Columbia obviously love it. Canadians sometimes call the day "May Two-Four" not because it falls on the 24th, but because they're going to get sloppy on a 24-pack of beer. Again, honest-to-goodness truth. I wouldn't lie to you about beer.

July 14 - France - Bastille Day: Celebrates the start of the French Revolution in 1789, specifically the storming of the Bastille, which was seen as the symbol of the uprising of the Modern Nation.

November 5 - Great Britain - Guy Fawkes Day: Celebrates foiling of a traitorous 1605 plot in which Guy Fawkes and a bunch of other naughty Catholics were going to blow up the Houses of Paliament in London. Fawkes and Co. lost, obviously, and now they dance on his grave every November 5th. Actually, I can't prove that last part, but they definitely throw a party. Whether or not that's on Guy Fawkes's grave is currently unknown to me.

December 26 - Australia, Great Britain, Canada - Boxing Day: A bonus day for giving gifts after Christmas. Where we in American spend the day making returns and shopping our little greedy butts off, these other nations use the day to hand out gifts to those who are less fortunate. Sounds pretty boring, right? :)

Now, if we just keep our fingers crossed for the Barack Obama day some legislatures are trying to pass, even though he's not even the damn president yet and hasn't proved anything, we can maybe get an extra day off of work for that one, too!

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