Saturday, January 18, 2014

When Holiday Meant Holy Day

As I was hurrying to get some cards and letters in the postal mail today, Saturday January 18, I realized that there was no reason to rush. After today’s pickup, with no Sunday delivery, and none on Monday, there’s only an outside chance that the mail will be delivered on Tuesday.

On Monday, January 20, workers have a day off at the post office, banks, libraries, schools, federal, state and city offices. It is a Federal holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black civil rights leaders. Actually, his birthday is on January 15, and he would have been 84-years-old if he hadn’t been slain on April 4, 1968.

Yesterday, a friend left a voice mail message that closed with, “Happy Holidays.” When I called her and asked her why the plural, she replied that along with King’s Day, Chinese New Year arrives on January 31, followed on February 14 by Valentine’s Day. The latter is a spirited selling holiday for both the Society of American Florists and the National Confectioners Association (NCA). As you are well aware of, the NCA merged with the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of the USA in 2008.

There’s also a Federal holiday on February 17 to honor George Washington’s day of birth, which was actually on February 22, 1732. However, the retail establishment has designated it as President’s Day, so they can also honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which took place on February 12, 1809, and seamlessly segue into another selling weekend from their Valentine’s sales period.

All Federal holidays come on a Monday, to give tired, overworked Americans a three-day weekend.

March 30 is Cesar Chavez Day, and it’s an official state holiday in California, Colorado and Texas. President Obama has proclaimed it as Cesar Chavez Day in the United States, we don’t know what banks, post offices, and governmental offices will be closed or left open to force workers to toil. They won’t toil as much as Chavez and his United Form Workers people did, however some might feel it is an injustice for them to even work.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s website found here, the only Federal holiday that’s actually a holy day, is Christmas. However with some retailers pushing sales, Christmas Day is not a holiday for everyone anymore.

To send greetings to everyone on your various holiday lists, remember to buy as many Forever stamps as you need before January 26, when the price of one stamp goes up three cents.

When you send out a card for Chinese New Year, write恭禧發財, or say to anyone you know, regardless of their race, religion, color or ethnicity, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in Mandarin, “Gong Hey Fat Choy” in Cantonese, or just plain Happy New Year.

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