The history behind the public holidays

While relaxing on public holidays, do you consider the reason behind the day?

For many people the abundance of public holidays during this time of year are a blessing, for others its a curse. You have the people who really need these holidays to keep from burning out and those that have to work twice as hard to finish all their work on time as few businesses and offices are open on public holidays.

But how many people are really aware of what is being celebrated on their day off?

Besides political or governmental structures and several of their stakeholders, I think few South Africans think about the idea or ideology behind these days.

Take today for instance. Workers’ Day (May 1), Labour Day or May Day has been celebrated internationally for centuries and in South Africa from around 1895. It started as a campaign for a shorter workday and better working conditions for workers and has since become a commemoration of this long struggle.

In SA, Workers’ Day is a celebration of the role played by trade unions and other labour movements in the struggle against Apartheid.

Although I dearly appreciate the few hours of relaxation the public holidays provide us, I feel like we should pay more attention to the meaning of the day and, at least for a while, think about the struggles, triumphs and rich history behind the holiday.

Do you take note which public holidays are celebrated and read up on its history? Let me know in the comments below, via twitter by adding the handle @hazyviewherald1 to your tweet or on our facebook page – Hazyview Herald.

Retha Nel

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