Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…
Thursday, October 17, 2013
A National Holiday to Fight Off the Hangover
Yesterday it was
eerily quiet in Honduras… Public offices were closed and students found the
doors of their schools shut.
football team had qualified for the World Cup the night before. So president
Pepe Lobo declared October 16th a holiday in order to celebrate the
I myself am a great
football fan and have, of course, watched all the classification games and yes,
I‘ve joined in the celebrations too. However,
those celebrations usually last for a just few hours after the game, not all
the way through the next day. I mean, one can only drink so much. Not that a
day off to nurture the hangover isn’t welcome, but is it really necessary?
As happy as I am that
Honduras will go to Brazil next year, I think it’s a bit over the top to
declare the day after a victory a national holiday (it wasn’t even a real
victory, the game ended in a tie). Would
the president have done that in my home country Holland, he’d probably get his
butt sued. Imagine: parents, whether working in the public sector or not, all
of a sudden have to stay home with their kids because the schools are closed.
Scheduled meetings, carefully planned events and long awaited appointments all postponed.
And what about the personnel at public hospitals? Fire fighters? The police
force? Public transportation? All off
celebrating? Or if at work, will they receive double pay for working on a
An unexpected holiday in
Holland would probably paralyze the economy completely and but a handful of die
hard hooligans would appreciate the gesture. But in Honduras it was already
half-heartily expected (because the president has done so before), so people
almost see it as a right. And as for the impact? Well, the country seems to be running as normal,
without all too much ado, just hop scotching along as it always does.
I love football,
especially the frenzy around important games between national teams. I think
that football could actually play a huge role in the development of a country
(more about that tomorrow). But I don’t see how a last-minute declaration of a
national holiday attributes to much. Except for the actual players, of course,
who really deserve their day off.
So the morning of the Day
After, I left at 7.30am to teach an art class. And oh, was I happy to see all
my students show up, holiday or not!