NOVEMBER 11, 2005

What is a holiday?

       holiday n. day or period of rest from work; originally a religious festival
       That's how Webster's defined the word holiday back in 1992. Today, the significance of the word has dramatically changed.
       It used to be that a holiday was a holiday and the business world stopped for a day. That was then, this is now. Today we see stores money-hungry for shopper's dollars and now the word holiday has no significant meaning for which we are given time to reflect on what used to be an important day.
       Remember a time when Sunday shopping was considered ludicrous? We never thought we would live to see the day we could go to a store and shop on a Sunday. What happened? It's turned into almost one of the busiest shopping days of the week.
       Now come Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day and countless other holidays that should be a time to remember or honour certain events in history, we have many distractions in the form of stores and other entertainment like movie theatres.
       As the years have gone by the rules for Remembrance Day have become loose. First, nothing could be open (with some minor exceptions – gas stations, etc.) Second, stores had to follow limited hours (usually Sunday business hours) to allow employees and consumers time to reflect on the holiday and possibly spend time with their families. Today, it’s fair game with nearly a full day of business for the retail and entertainment worlds.
       We hear talk of it around the office or in our own homes, “Oh, finally a long weekend” and most people look at Remembrance Day as a day off from work. This year because it fell on a Friday it was an added bonus for people who wanted to travel out of town and flee for the weekend. But we should also remember that on November 11, many people who had fled 60 years ago, never returned home. It is for that reason we are able to travel freely and enjoy a “November long weekend."

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