A Long Break

Friday, January 05, 2007

The following editorial was printed in the Friday, January 05, 2007 edition of The Jordan Times. I couldn’t agree more.
Many of us wonder why the country had to go through a ten-day holiday break on the occasion of the New Year and the Eid Al Adha.

In these times of globalization, when most relationships between countries and peoples are closely dependent, to be cut off from the world for such a long period of time must have cost Jordan quite an amount of money. Were one to calculate the cost of a ten-day holiday on the GNP, the results would be high, no doubt.

It makes no sense for any country, developed or developing, to take such a long break from economic activities.

Most nations avoid holidays for more than four days, including the two days of weekend. If the rich countries cannot afford the luxury of ten days off, the Kingdom surely cannot either.

True, the New Year celebrations and Eid Al Adha overlapped, but the holiday season could have ended on January 3, and not on January 7.

Schools, universities, banks, corporations, factories and state functions were interrupted for ten days. Do we really need such a long time to mark events?

It is hoped that next time holidays are decided upon, officials stop to examine the cost. It is also hoped that all will endeavor now to make up for the lost time. After so much rest, there is reason to believe that productivity will increase.

And since holidays are mentioned, one should bring up the matter of lack of consensus among the Muslim and Arab nations on when religious holidays begin or end.

We still insist on crescent sighting with the naked eye to proclaim the beginning of Eid Al Fitr at the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. But some Muslim nations see the crescent before others. This creates confusion and that has got to end.

When and for how long a religious holiday should be celebrated is a matter that could be agreed upon well ahead of time on. Resorting to astronomy to declare the start of a holiday and to good old common sense to decided how long it should last could do it.

Update (Jan. 18, 2007): Kudos to King Abdullah for realizing the ridiculousness of a 10-day holiday and the adverse effects that it has on the economy. The king has canceled two public holidays this year: the observances of his birthday on January 30 as well as the late King Hussein's birthday on November 14. The king wishes that "Jordanians can celebrate the two occasions by enhancing national economy".

The king also asked government to set a clear calendar for the next 5 years, outlining public holidays and daylight saving time observances in order to "help public and private institutions set well-defined and long-term plans".


Anonymous hamede said...

Eid al adha moves 10 days evry year,so thats is not gona hapend next year.

1/05/2007 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Nas said...

they overlapped...it happens once every, i dunno, half century or something.

besides it was between christmas and new years and most of economic world is just getting over a hangover

we didn't miss much and i'm guessing such a holiday meant people had more time to spend money which indeed happen as retail sales and tourist destinations reached a record in jordan

1/05/2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger Moey said...

I like the article and i think it's right.

1/06/2007 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Red Rose said...

well, everythinhg is frozen in such vacations..

1/06/2007 3:32 PM  

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