What is the purpose behind having public holidays in modern times?

  • As far as I understand, public holidays were originally a way of letting workers rest during the year, as well as celebrating major religious events. Nowadays workers are usually entitled to a few weeks of vacation (not to mention the 8 hour work days and rest during weekends), so having a public holiday is a lot less important for them. Likewise religion plays a much smaller role and Christmas is usually equivalent to a shopping festival in Western countries.

    So what's the purpose of keeping the public holidays? Are there countries which plan to reduce their number or remove them completely?

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  • Machavity

    Machavity Correct answer

    5 years ago
    1. Holidays allow people to consolidate gathering plans. In the US, two important holidays are Memorial Day and Labor Day. These, more or less, mark the start and end of summer. As such, travel and vacations are often planned around these dates.
    2. Holidays represent times when children will be free as well. Most major countries have compulsory school attendance. Holidays represent government closure, and thus schools are closed as well. Since the parents tend to be off, they can plan things for those days.
    3. Holidays are popular. No politician will touch an established holiday, especially since they are typically paid days off for many workers.

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    @Machavity something worth adding might be the well-being of employees and the increased productivity generally associated with time off.

    @Sh4d0wsPlyr The benefits of time off also come with the weeks of vacation time mentioned in the question. The question is looking more for reasons for holidays that aren't duplicated by regular vacation time and weekends.

    @8bittree Which is fine, except there is enough studies to show that there is some evidence that increased time-off (excluding weekends, vacations) may be more beneficial. That is more what I was referring to, and that it may benefit the answer slightly.

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