Cold Dew: Wild geese come as guests

April 9th, 2012
by Jo Law

This solar term marks the sun’s passing through the first 15º on the ecliptic. The fourth month of the Gregorian calendar began with drier days and cooler nights. Four days of this pentad fell on the 2012 Easter holidays. April 6th, 2012 was Good Friday, the start of term 1 school holidays for New South Wales primary and secondary students. The public holidays are followed by a non-teaching break at the University of Wollongong. The 4-day long weekend is the longest consecutive holidays in Australia (when Christmas and Boxing days do not fall on a weekend). Many take this golden opportunity for recreation and travel.

With 13 annual holidays, Tasmania and Western Australia come top as having the most days-off across all states and territories; New South Wales and Queensland have the least with 11 days marked as public holidays. These figures are ahead of the United Kingdom (England and Wales) and Mexico where there are only 8 statutory holidays. Sri Lanka has up to 26 public holidays, while Hong Kong, listed 17 general holidays in 2012 with 12 of these being statutory.

The Easter long weekend rivals the 3 consecutive public holidays in Japan (Constitution Memorial Day on May 3rd, Greenery Day on May 4th, and Children’s Day on May 5th, which are preceded by Showa Day on April 29th) and the People’s Republic of China’s 3-day Spring festival holidays. Both of these 3-day holidays are dubbed ‘golden week’ as they are sometimes bridged by weekends or workers taking paid leave on the in-between days, extending of the length of days off work to a week.

We seldom plan trips away for the Easter long weekend as to avoid traffic and crowds. This year we were content to stay put and catch up on our ‘lists-of-things-to-do’. For my part, I indulged in my craft activities. Over the four days, I made 2 pair of trousers, a bag, 2 felt sausages, 1 piece of felt ham, 1 piece of felt lettuce and 1 felt pancake for Hollis, finished a scarf for Redmond and began a new knitting project for myself. It is not so much having the time off work that made the 4 days so conducive to carrying out these tasks, but that the long weekend is genuinely  respected as uninterrupted off-time (with no obligation to check emails or receive phone calls).


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