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Germany: The Day Of Work

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on April 30, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

Anyone can claim that Americans are strange, and be perfectly correct, but should remember that everyone in foreign countries is strange, according to their own traditions and customs. Wherever we travel, we find the curious and startling simply because things are different, and we’re not used to that. Settled in our ways, some believe everyone does the same as we do, and are surprised, if not startled, when they discover that this is not so.

Some things, though, are much the same: there is a Day of Work in Germany – on May 1 – just the same as in other European counties, and in the United States, when people do not work. Theoretically. Naturally there are always people working, otherwise we couldn’t enjoy our day of not working. And this year, in Germany, that has been a problem.

Maypole

Photo Source: Stuart ChalmersCreative Commons

You see, May 1 falls on a Sunday. That means that those people who would normally celebrate with a free day are having to celebrate their free day on a day when they would be free from work anyway, and this has angered some. How can it be, they ask, that a holiday falls on a day when we cannot take a holiday? And so there have been objections: a small but vocal movement of dissatisfied people demanded that the May 1 holiday should be celebrated with a free day on May 2. Otherwise, they appear to be saying, it simply isn’t fair.

Now, if employers started complaining that May 1 fell on a weekday, when the workplaces would otherwise be full, and that they had to pay their workers for not being at work, everyone would claim undue pressure and the breaking of a tradition. Or, if employers decided that, since May 1 is on a Monday workers should work the Sunday… You get the idea.

In this small town May 1, with its Maypole, is being celebrated today, so that no one is hungover on May 2 and misses work through ‘illness’. Another non-work day…

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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