Here in Ireland (and Britain) holidays are not referred to as national holidays, but bank holidays.  Some are the same as those celebrated by Americans, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Others, such as St. Patrick’s Day and Easter Monday at least celebrate a holiday that is of course known and celebrated in the states, even if they aren’t days off for most workers.  Labour Day and May Day are the same thing here, and celebrated on the first Monday of May.  But then they have St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, a saint’s day that I suspect the majority of Americans have never heard of.  Finally, they have June, August, and October Holidays, which don’t coincide with any particular religious, historical, or cultural event. 

So, you’d think that the banks would be closed on the bank holidays, and that would be it, wouldn’t you?  Oh, foolish reader, have you learned nothing?  On Christmas Eve last, we went to a bank to set up a banking account just after 11 and were told they didn’t have time that day because they were closing at noon, but we could come back Friday when they would reopen.  Somehow, two days of bank holidays meant the banks were to shut down for three-and-a-half days. 

Three weeks ago, just as Amy started her job, I read somewhere that both Good Friday and the Monday following Easter were holidays, and I was looking forward to a four day weekend with Amy.  No, she was told by her supervisor, Good Friday is a bank holiday in Britain, but not here in Ireland, and Amy would have to work.  Apparently no one at Cope consulted the banks (or the post, for that matter), because the banks were closed Friday and again today, Easter Monday.

In America, holidays are an excuse for stores to have Sales, Sales, Sales.  That is one of the biggest differences with the holidays here, that on a holiday like today, many stores are closed, and the others don’t seem to have any special sales going on.