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La Réunion Set To Drop 3 Christian Public Holidays

Source: Journal de l'Ile de la Réunion (Saint-Paul la Réunion)
Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009
Most recent follow-up news item: April 6, 2012

The Bishop of the diocese of La Réunion, Gilbert Aubry, has officially announced that he was ready to cede 3 Christian public holidays to other religions. The 3 public holidays specifically mentioned by the Bishop are: Easter Monday, Ascension, and Whitmonday.

The Bishop explained his choice by the fact that both Easter Monday and Whitmonday are not truly religious holidays, but were established in the 19th century to allow people to return to their place of work after the Easter and Pentecost Sunday celebrations. But, in an age of cars and buses, the need for a "next day" public holiday is no longer there.

The president of the Tamil umbrella group FAGRHCTR (Fédération des associations et groupements religieux hindous et culturels tamouls de La Réunion), Daniel Minienpoulé, responded positively to the Bishop's proposal, and went on to say that Tamils in La Réunion only asked for 2 public holidays, so that the 3rd freed public holiday could be allocated to another religion.

The new Tamil public holidays would certainly include Tamil New Year which, occurring in mid-April, would be close to the date of Easter, and either Thaipoosam Cavadee (in January/February) or Deepavali (in October/November).

The 3rd new public holiday could be either of the 2 Muslim Eids (Eid al Fitr or Eid al Adha), or Chinese New Year.

The principle of a redistribution among religions of official public holidays, while keeping the same total number of public holidays, had been given a seal of approval in 2005 by then French Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy (who is now the President of France).

Links and References

Below are links to the news stories referred to in the above "La Réunion Set To Drop 3 Christian Public Holidays" news story, as well as links to subsequents news stories which refer to the present news story.