As is often the case in our lives, we have difficulty appreciating something until we can understand it in personal terms that we can understand. For example, Person A and Person B want to learn more about Islam to better appreciate—or at least understand—the nuances of the religion. For Person A it may be sufficient to read a short synopsis of Islam and talk to a few practitioners of the religion. For Person B, it may take living in a predominately Islamic country and following the practices of the religion to make any sense out of it.
Well, in a similar frame, I didn’t really begin to appreciate the importance of a holiday to a country’s people until I began writing material for a company that sells international holiday calendars.
However, on most occasions I’ve looked at a holiday as just another day off work and not much else. “Wow, cool! I don’t have to work on Holiday X!” I would exclaim, relieved to break free from some perceived grind of activity. The actual significance of Holiday X would be either lost on me or considered trite.
Yet researching the history and writing the details of holidays like Armistice Day in France, Mtskhetoba-Svetitskhovloba in Georgia, or Rectification Day in Burkina Faso has given me new eyes with which to behold holidays.
Maybe it was the discovery that millions of people died in a war likely started by an assassination. Or was it the massive cedar that grew out of a holy grave that supposedly had Christ’s robe clenched in the occupant’s hand? It could have been when I discovered one government figure was made a martyr by assassination while the potential assassin received a holiday in his name.
I’m not entirely sure which story, if any, has changed my mind about holidays. However, I’m certain that the process of researching and writing about them has given me a new perspective into why people celebrate public holidays and, as my boss at aglobalworld.com puts it, why they’re often the first thing agreed upon by new governments.
Here are some links to some recently written holiday descriptions: