Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day 2011

Following Britain's royal wedding, this weekend's "other" European big event, which will attract its share of royalty (though mostly Catholic), is the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This is the second step en route to sainthood, following veneration (a less formal process) and culminating in canonization. Venerable, Blessed, and then Saint.

In Europe at least, traditional events in church are still a big draw.

May 1st is, of course, labor day in Italy and certain other countries. Here in Sicily, this means that fewer stores will be open for business than on a normal Sunday, though pizzerias and kebab restaurants will be open in the evening as usual. There is no public bus service except for airport buses.

This year, with Liberation Day (April 25th) falling on Easter Monday - already a national holiday - and May Day on a Sunday, public employees have complained about being "cheated" out of two holidays. At the risk of sounding cynical, it could be suggested that even on a "normal" work day, many of Italy's "workers" only work a little between coffee breaks, and by law they get generous doses of vacation time (averaging around 35 days per year) so they really don't need any additional days off in these times of financial austerity. Anyway, Republic Day - the next national holiday - falls on a Thursday, June 2nd.

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