Why, in 2009, in a modern country like Australia that is not a theocracy, is the Yarrawonga supermarket shut all day on what the christians call “Good Friday”?
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that workers should lose their holidays. But why must they all be taken at the same time? Why can’t the two standard autumn break holidays to which each worker is entitled not be taken on different weekends around that time?
Apart from the stupidity of largely shutting the country down for some arbitrary day (and you can’t get more arbitrary and bizarre than the convoluted method of calculating the date of Easter each year based on lunar cycles and equinoxes) because of some religious festival, it’s also a poor use of holiday resources. Instead of spreading the influx of holidaymakers out over, say, four weeks, you have four days of campsites and resorts being crowded beyond their capacity, and then the rest of the season with them almost empty.
Why don’t we simply give workers the choice of which weekend they take as a long weekend, in negotiation with their employers? Say the two weekends of the school holidays and one weekend on either side. Then religious people can observe their particular religious festival; people with kids can take time off to be with their families – and people without can avoid the lot of them. Businesses can allocate their staff sensibly. Holiday destinations can spread the peak over four, saner weeks instead of one weekend in which everything is stretched to capacity.
And I’ll be able to buy some damned steak for dinner.
PS Hope you had a pleasant Autumn break. I did.