Spring Holidays

March and April, despite having their holidays, tend to be months of pretty solid capitalistic work.  Congress may take its April recess and universities have their spring break, but the working stiffs just keep going.  I’ve worked for a couple of British companies and they have a dilemma in the Human Resources department.  Britain has a lot more days off per year than American business practice does.  The dilemma?  How to tell your colonials that the head offices will be closed around Easter when those of the New World will remain open.  You see, very few American companies recognize what some Christians call Holy Week as a time for anything other than work.  Back in the days when I was still trying to work myself into the Episcopal priesthood, I had to ask my manager for Good Friday off and permission was only reluctantly given.

The two major Christian holidays of Christmas and Easter are vastly different in their public expression.  Despite the outlook of Scrooge, most companies consider Christmas a holiday, even to the point of giving you a Friday or Monday off if it falls on a weekend.  A present, as it were.  Easter, on the other hand, reliably falls on a Sunday.  Viewed in isolation there’s no need to give people any days off.  Since I was a teen, however, I took Maundy Thursday and Good Friday seriously.  You were, even in the Methodist church, encouraged to spend the latter in church, especially around the middle of the day.  If at all possible, it should be raining.  It wasn’t a day off for rest and relaxation, but for contemplating sin and its costs (hardly conducive to capitalism).

Universities, however, have tended to shift spring break to St. Patrick’s Day so as to get the damage of drunken students off campus.  Indeed, Purim, the Jewish spring holiday, also advocates drinking until Haman and Mordecai become indistinguishable when spoken.  Sort of like Hamilton, it was the holiday that saved the book of Esther, just like the Broadway show preserved the ten-dollar bill.  When it comes to business, however, Americans are all business.  (Did someone  mention a ten-dollar bill?!)  Money, as MC reminds us, makes the vorld go round.  And holidays are viewed as constant interruptions.  The typical work calendar will have no holidays from President’s Day in February until Memorial Day at the end of May.  It’s typically the longest stretch without a paid holiday.  Just when the weather’s starting to get nicer.  But let’s not forget, money is fully in charge here, for where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also.

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