Editorial: On the matter of holidays

POSTED: 06/16/11 1:32 PM

Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Rhoda Arrindell is pressing forward with her quest for Emancipation Day to become a national, public holiday. We say good on her, because Emancipation Day represents a joint hope of all of people who live here – The hope that we can all live free.

Labor Day is really the only other truly unifying holiday that we have, that speaks to all our people as it relates to their desire for working conditions and compensation that allow them to be productive on one hand and reap the fair fruits of their labor on the other hand.

There is one holiday that hangs in the year and that is October 10, 2010. The Council of Ministers is continuing its debate on this and we believe that the discussions should be broadened. One question we have is: Why are there five Christian holidays and none for the Muslims, who also have a large enough presence here that they have a Mosque. And where are the holidays of the Jews and the Hindus? The latter also has a temple, and the former now has a permanent Rabbi.

Also we have holidays that celebrate St. Maarten’s culture and history – Carnival and St. Maarten’s Day – and yet others that celebrate our constitutional links – Queen’s Birthday and Kingdom Day.

Choosing holidays is admittedly, at best, a prickly exercise, with a multitude of considerations. The primary consideration in choosing holidays must be identifying that which reflects a nation’s cultural psyche at that present moment. It must also pay homage to the collective history of the nation and all of the people who call a nation state their home.

 

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