Happy Easter!

So here we are at Easter for another year. I was thinking back to last year, and for the life of me, could not remember when Easter was last year. So I looked it up. It turns out, that last year, Easter Sunday was March 23. I remember working then, but not actually having a break (probably because I had to work Easter Saturday).

Next year, Easter Sunday is April 4, and the year after – 2011 – Easter Sunday is April 24. Which means that ANZAC day that year will be on Easter Monday – in some states, you’ll get an extra day off on Tuesday April 26 in lieu of ANZAC day falling on a holiday – same as what happens if it was on a Sunday – as it is next year.

The date of Easter is defined via Christian religion based on Easter Sunday being the first Sunday after the first full moon after the March equinox which falls on March 21. This means Easter can be any date from March 21 through to April 25. An April 25 Easter happens in about 30 years time. There is also an Orthodox Easter which is a month later usually.  

I have always wondered, why in this day andage, we don’t just set a definite time frame for Easter – say the second Sunday in April for example. I am sure that would be better for business, provide stability and rememberable dates for events on or around Easter. In NSW, school holidays used to be based on Easter. I remember in 1989, the 1st term of the school year was only 7 weeks long (Easter was around about  March 23 then as well), then 2nd term was 13 weeks long. Now, in years where Easter is early, school holidays no longer full at the same time as Easter.

And then there’s Christmas. Yes, its December 25 always, but wouldn’t it make sense to make Christmas as the last or even 2nd last Sunday in December so it always is a long weekend? As someone who has worked Monday to Friday, in an industry where you cannot have holidays during Christmas / New Year as its the peak time, I find it annoying when you have Christmas in the middle of the week – meaning (for example) – you end up working Dec 24, have 25 and 26 off, then back again Dec 27 and 28, then a weekend on Dec 29 and 30, at work again Dec 31, off again Jan 1, back on Jan 2. I have always thought that one of these days should be made into an extra public holiday for the benefit of the small percentage of the population that have to work over these days (which is a better solution than having Christmas as a varying Sunday).

Here’s how it would work:

If Christmas falls on Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun or Mon – you already have a long weekend for Christmas, as you have the Boxing Day public holiday as well, and when one or both days fall on the weekend, additional weekday public holidays are granted.

If Christmas falls on a Tuesday, in order to have a long weekend, you make Dec 31 be the additional holiday. Coupled with New Years Day – which would also fall on a Tuesday in this case – the long weekend would be for New Years. You don’t put Mon Dec 24 as a public holiday as it generally is a busy day for last minute business. I think they actually did this one year in the 80’s – made Dec 31 an additional holiday.

If Christmas falls on a Wednesday, you make Fri Dec 27 the extra holiday – yielding a 5 day long weekend.

In each case, there are only 2 weekdays (business days) left between Christmas and New Years Day. usually, there are always three days between the two dates. The only issue with additional holidays is the fact that businesses that open on these days have to pay their staff public holiday pay – so, while such a move may be welcomed by workers, I really cannot see the business community getting behind this idea at all.

And then there is the issue that some years actually endup having more public holidays than others. Maybe that extra holiday in the years when Christmas falls on Thur – Mon could be attached to New Years day making a 4 day long weekend there as well. Some countries (New Zealand is one of them) have Jan 2 as a public holiday, and if New Years falls on a weekend, they make up for that day as well with an extra weekday holiday. (eg: Mon 3rd, Tue 4th as New years holidays when New Years fall on a Sat).

This year (in NSW) there is no Monday public holiday in lieu of ANZAC day falling on a Saturday. According to the Department of Industrial Relations, Sat April 25 is the public holiday, complete with trading restrictions meaning stores can’t open until 1pm, but Monday April 27th is not a public holiday. Will be interesting to see how many people assume the 27th is a public holiday and don’t turn up for work. So we have one weekday public holiday less than usual. Lets hope they make up for that one day.

One response to “Happy Easter!

  1. I think you’re missing the point. There are significant reasons why Easter and Christmas are on the days that they are and I don’t see why they should change from their important days just to “suit business” or to suit your long weekends. The importance of observing these events on their significant days are a lot bigger than just making sure people get a long weekend or to coincide with NSW school holidays.

    Also Easter and Christmas are observed around the world. It would be ridiculous to have Australia having faux Easter and Christmas dates if the other countries that observe these events doesn’t!!

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