The Irish government will announce Ireland's newest public holiday on Oct 12 with two dates being hinted at but will Nov 29 or Feb 1 be the nation's new, tenth annual bank holiday?
After the unprecedentedly tough years the world has endured, Ireland's government announced that a new bank holiday would be announced on Oct 12. The new bank holiday would commemorate those lives lost due to Covid and also celebrate the frontline workers. The political party, Fine Gael, last week suggested that an Irish Thanksgiving Bank Holiday could be a nice way to recognize and build on Ireland and the United States strong links, however, some feel that this goes against Irish heritage. A growing faction believes that Feb 1, Saint Brigid's Day, should be made a national holiday in Ireland.
Ireland currently has just nine Bank Holidays as opposed to 12 in many other European countries.
On Wednesday (Sept 29), the Fine Gael Twitter account asked "Are you in favor of a Thanksgiving Bank Holiday on Monday, 29 November?" The post called on the public to have their say about Covid commemoration but almost immediately the public showed strong opinions on the Nov 29 date, coinciding with the American holiday, Thanksgiving.
Are you in favour of a Thanksgiving Bank Holiday on Monday, 29th November?September 29, 2021
There were over 1k comments on the post and, for the most part, it seems that the public is against marking this American holiday and favor Bank Holiday which would celebrate a significant day in Irish history instead.
The top reply states: "No: 1. We’re not American 2. Thanksgiving Day commemorates colonization 3. This day is meaningless in Ireland 4. You’re doing this for retailers, not for regular people."
The Fine Gael leader and Tanaiste (Deputy Leader) of Ireland's government suggested that the Nov 29 holiday could commemorate those who lost their lives due to Covid, rather than mimic the American holiday.
Varadkar said, "It may even require primary legislation so that needs to be borne in mind, too."
He added, "The idea is around remembrance of the fact that 5,000 people or more have passed away and they have families who are grieving, and also a way of recognizing volunteers as well as workers who made a special effort."
Fine Gael also went to the public suggesting that Feb 1, St. Brigid's Day, every year should be a bank holiday, to commemorate those lost to Covid.
Are you in favour of a St Brigid’s Day Bank Holiday on the 1st of February every year?September 30, 2021
Dublin singer Imelda May weighed in on the discussion, calling into RTE's Liveline.
She said "I know this is about frontline workers and I’m forever grateful to them. With this festival, Brigid represents all types of creativity but also healing and rebirth — and I think that’s what we’ve done so well."
May added "It’s a rebirth and a chance to start again.
"So many people celebrate it anyway, it was just never recognized."
She also tweeted "Make Brigids Day a national day in Ireland! Matron Saint of Ireland. Who’s with me?"
The Irish singer is just one of the famous faces backing a campaign to make St. Brigid's Day a public holiday. HerStory's official petition already had over 8k signatures. The campaign aims "to make Brigid’s Day a national holiday, celebrating Brigid - Ireland’s matron Saint and triple Goddess - equally to our world-famous St. Patrick. The campaign has been backed by the Women’s Caucus, Green Party, Official St. Patrick’s Festival, Imelda May, Ivana Back, Josepha Madigan, Roisin Garvey, Holly Cairns."
So! What do you think? Should Ireland have its own Thanksgiving or should St. Brigid's Day be its newest public holiday?