Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday or Just Another Day Off

On this Holy day in the Christian calendar, four of the five of my family have the day off of school or work for Good Friday. My daughter's high school remained open today, despite the religious holiday. I'm wondering if mandatory closing of offices, the government, and schools for religious holidays is becoming a thing of the past.

When I was a Freshman in high school, like my daughter is now, I remember everything closing down on Good Friday. Maybe not for the entire day, but at least for the afternoon from noon until 3 pm. Along with the school, all of the businesses my hometown would close down. Why? Church of course. Coming from a Lutheran stronghold, most of us went to church for a good part of the afternoon of Good Friday. I remember sitting through a 2-hour long church service that did seem to drag on for an eternity. The hymns saved me. I loved the hymns on this solemn day.

Fast forward to 2012, I would probably have to search around to find a Lutheran church that is holding a 2-hour long Good Friday service today. Perhaps some people who do have the day off will use the opportunity to attend church. Some will just see it as another day off. Have we all forgotten what Good Friday stands for?

This does lead to another issue—that of having a day off for religious holidays. Living in where I do in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul, we do not have a day off for Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu) or Mahavir Jayanti (Jain). However these religious holidays are also celebrated today along with our Good Friday. My calendar only recognizes Good Friday. Will schools and businesses be closed in October to celebrate Yom Kipper (Judaism) or on Eid al Fitr (Islam) in September? No, not here.

In our post 9-11, multicultural America—where Americans are trying so hard to accommodate all faiths and not offend anyone's religion or non-religion—will all of the world's religious holidays now make the calendar or a banner day off from work? My calendar does not indicate a day off on July 3rd to celebrate the major Buddhist holiday of Asalha Puja Day. Maybe the atheists of the world want a day off from work to celebrate not believing in God. That would only seem fair. I'm kind of surprised that some organized group of atheists or agnostics haven't lobbied Congress for their fair share of holidays.

So as I contemplate Good Friday's implications for me and this world, I do feel privileged that I live in a free country where I can celebrate Good Friday or Hanuman Jayanti or the Spaghetti Monster if I choose.

1 comment:

alyssa said...

I don't get very many holidays at my work, so even if we did start celebrating other cultures' holidays, I guarantee I'll be working them. It's like pulling teeth just to get any holiday or vacation time. You want the Friday after Thanksgiving off? Forget that! 2 days at Christmas? No way!