Posted by: scribe9 | May 27, 2010

Holidays, for better and worse

The next few months, while it’s rainy and cold, have a dearth of holidays. The last Sunday in April used up two at once–Anzac Day and Easter. The Queen’s Birthday is observed on the first Monday in June (a week before it’s observed in London. She was actually born in April, but the observance is of the sovereign’s birthday, no matter when born), and I’m not sure how big a play it will get. Rick gets to observe it by working the entire weekend. Then there’s nothing until Father’s Day, the first Sunday in September. The next official holiday is Labour Day on October 25, by which time the New Zealand government will have booted us out.

Since winter’s coming, we and some of our European friends plan to get together for a Christmas-type dinner, complete with decorations, to break up the dark season. Turns out that some Kiwis and Aussies do that, too–Christmas in July.

The school vacation between terms 2 and 3 (the school year is based on the calendar, not agricultural, year),runs from July 3 through July 18. Next year the school calendar will be amended for religious reasons. The country’s majority religion is rugby (with several denominations–league, union, and sevens–but I digress), and Kiwis have secured the Holy Grail; the Rugby World Cup will be played here in the fall of 2011. Therefore, according to the School Holidays website:

The usual length of each school term has been adjusted for 2011. Terms One and Two are slightly longer than usual and Term Four is two weeks shorter. This is to align the October term holiday with the final stages of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Tournament.

No big deal, you say? Just facing facts? But what of the non-believers? What of the fact that the finals will be in Auckland, which is only a tiny portion of the country? Ah, but they’ll draw fans from all over the country, and abroad, so they’ll need all the nation’s buses.

And what of the high school seniors who are supposed to take their exams shortly after the end of the adjusted holiday? This is the cause of much hand-wringing. The argument is that students are likely to do much better if they’re in school for the weeks just before the big test, than left to study on their own at home or wherever they go on holiday (October is spring here, and likely quite nice weather). Some independent schools (those who get no public money at all, as opposed to most private schools which are “integrated” into the public system) are keeping their 2011 calendars intact for the sake of their seniors. As one parent said, “Would the All Blacks [the national rugby team] be told to go on holiday two weeks before the World Cup and practise their ball skills in the backyard? Of course not.”

As we’re in the minority here, we’d plan to enjoy the relative quiet of roads and streets during the World Cup. But we’ll be back in the States, where we’re a mixed marriage–football and non-football.

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