Monday, April 21, 2014


I guess it being Easter weekend had me thinking along these lines.  Firstly I must admit I am not a 'true believer' and perhaps could be labelled an agnostic although I prefer to think of myself as a humanist.  I feel we should try to accept people for who and what they are and as far as possible treat them as we would like to be treated.  We should respect their beliefs and their rights to have those beliefs and in general, live and let live.

Having got that out of the way I have heard several discussions on radio this week about whether non-Christians should benefit from having scheduled holidays for what are Christian-held beliefs such as Easter and of course Christmas.  Perhaps there is so much multi-culturism in Australia and other parts of the Western World now that it was inevitable that this question should arise, and it has arisen before.   One argument said perhaps non-Christians should work on those days and others said if non-Christians actually worked on those holidays (holy days) should they be paid penalty rates?  If they don't believe in Christmas and Easter then why should they benefit from working on those days?

Back in the time of the British Civil War Cromwell banned all holidays and celebrations for both Christmas and Easter as the Roundheads didn't believe in graven images or rituals of any kind, and only held very simple services in their churches with no paraphenalia at all.   Phil, who left the UK in 1960, remembers he used to work on Good Fridays and have Easter Monday and the following Tuesday off.  This may have stemmed from the time of the Civil War as Coventry (and possibly surrounding areas) was a stronghold of the Roundheads.   Things have probably changed by now and I must ask Phil's cousin next time I email him to see if Good Friday is indeed now a public holiday in the Midands.

Over the centuries there have been many, many changes and one wonders just how many more there will be in the years to come with there being so many different races and different beliefs all now coming together.

I feel that the above questions are almost unanswerable but am wondering what others think about it all.   I hope I have not trodden on anyone's toes bringing up this subject and I truly respect all beliefs that everyone has and respect them for having them.

P.S.  I do believe that a man by the name of Jesus Christ did walk on this earth and lead an extremely good life and I like to celebrate Christmas in his memory.  The same with Easter, although perhaps my beliefs are somewhat different to the norm, I think it is important in both cases to remember why we have those holidays instead of using them as an excuse for excesses of any kind.

Myself, I revel in the wonders of nature, the bounties she brings and sometimes the terrors as well.  Last night as we drove home from Kelmscott, before the moon had risen, the sky was very dark and the stars so very bright.  I look up at the stars with awe and am filled with the wonders of the universe and beyond.   I believe the scientists have found a new star which they think could sustain life.  There is so much out there of which little is known.  Mankind has advanced so far in this technological age and I can only hope more fantastic discoveries will be made if mankind (humankind) learns to control its greed, learns to get along together and work together for its betterment.


  1. An interesting and sensitive post! Although Theism and Atheism both require leaps of faith of which I find myself incapable, I do celebrate Easter and keep Christmas because they connect me with my family in a way that is deep and simple. As national observances--nominally Christian but informed by many other traditions, some Pagan and prehistoric--, I can see no harm in celebrating concepts of renewal and treating each other decently. In fact, as various religions gain social momentum, I would hope workers could get even more paid holidays.

    1. Thanks Geo. You are so right when you say the traditions of Easter and Christmas mean connections with family are kept. They are special times when we can gather together and enjoy each other's company. (We did just that last night and it was a lovely evening).
      I wonder if one day (when I am long gone probably) a time will come when there are indeed paid holidays on special 'feast' days for other religions. What a thought!!

  2. It's a tricky situation, whether or not non-believers should have the holidays. Most shops and factories will be shut anyway, so where would they work?
    If we take religions into account, those who celebrate Ramadan etc, they're all happy to accept our holidays, as well as their own, yet we don't take time off to celebrate their holidays. That would be bad for business I suppose. All those paid holidays with no production taking place.
    The ones I object to are the horse races, why should they be a national or state holiday?

    1. Yes it is indeed somewhat of a conundrum. I tend to agree with you re the Melbourne Cup (and possibly horse race holidays in other States). Our Perth Cup is held on New Year's Day so no special holiday for it.
      With the spread of multi-culturism I am sure in time other religions will feel it is their right that holidays should be declared on their special days as well. Will it happen I wonder and, if so, how soon?

  3. I've tussled with this before and came to the conclusion that perhaps it would be best if we just had one federal holiday a month. Religious milestones would be something churches and families celebrated on their own time and not forced on those who do not believe.

    1. Delores that is a simple but wonderful conclusion to come to and would certainly solve what is likely to become quite a dilemma in coming years. In Western Australia we have 10 public holidays a year so that would give us an extra 2 days. Whoopeee...Not that it would effect Phil and me now we are retired.

  4. Hari OM
    The point was made that other religions are accepting of the Christian calendar, but not so much the other way....and as I read your post just now Mimsie, the evening news here in Scotland had an article about exactly this sort of issue!! The Prime Minister had been pushing the UK as a Christian society - which increasingly it is not of course. By mention of holiday, it is necessary to be clear that we are talking about national (therefore government-sanctioned) public days. The very word itself is an adaptation of 'holy day'. Rarely is it truly held as such.

    In India, there are very many holy days. Not just across religions, but within the Hindu faith itself. I don't here wish to go into the 'one God many faces' discussion. The point is that folk don't celebrate every holiday. If I want to honour Ramnavami, the workplace allows me that without penalty, but neither does it pay penalties. Everyone else gets on with business. When Eid Mubharak comes round, the Muslims celebrate in full and Hindu India runs as normal.

    If one does not adhere to any faith, why would I need a 'holyday'? The difficulty that Western culture now has is that workers have come to expect paid days off work as a right.

    I think Delores has come closest to offering a true solution. Given that withdrawing public holidays as such from the work calendar might result in revolt, then one paid 'picnic' day per month and the freedom to take unpaid time for religious observance is a common sense path. In the case of Hindus, they could be asked to nominate a maximum of three 'holy days' so that it will not appear as if they are gaining any time advantage and to keep employers happy also...(bearing in mind that they are a bit of a moving target due to being tied to lunar cycles.) It should be noted too, that Yeshu (Jesus) is a saint in the Hindu pantheon.

    I add the confusing factor that I profess Christ whilst being a practicing Hindu. The two are not mutually exclusive.

    There is much to discuss on this issue. My experience when working in Australia and this argument arose, it was being spruiked by trades union types - most of them non-religious... hinting albeit subtly to racial discrimination. There will be no easy answer on a national level. All one can do is look to oneself, as you have done here dear Mimsie.

    Bottom line. Live and let live. Take the holy out of public days and allow days for holiness. ... we're allowed to dream here in Blogville aren't we? YAM xx

  5. Hi Yam. Live and let live should be the bottom line when debating any contentious subject but friendly debate is always good as it helps broaden our minds and help us to understand others, their way of life and their beliefs.
    We in Western Australia have 10 paid days off a year one of which is just for we West Aussies..Western Australia Day. They are New Year's Day, Australia Day, Labour Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday, Anzac Day, Western Australia Day, Queen's birthday and Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We don't get a day off for our Perth Cup as that is run on New Year's Day.
    I am sure that if left to the trade unions there would be a paid day off every second week but that is their way unfortunately. They never seem happy with anything.
    I will try and get to check out your posts as soon as I can, I promise. It's been busy with kitchen repairs (stlll to be finished) and medical appts of late. What once we took in our stride we now have to crawl through so it all takes so much longer.
    I hope you had an enjoyable Easter break. xx

    1. Yam, the above has come out in the wrong format and is a reply to your own comment. This keeps happening and it's a darned nuisance.