Human Rights Day -
Wednesday March 21, 2018
Secular holiday : On this day in 1960 the police killed 69 people at Sharpeville who were participating in a protest against the pass laws. Many were shot in the back. The carnage made world headlines. Four days later the government banned black political organizations, many leaders were arrested or went into exile. During the Apartheid era there were human rights abuses by all sides; Human Rights Day is but one step to ensure that the people of South Africa are aware of their human rights and to ensure that such abuses never again occur. [http://africanhistory.about.com]
April Fools Day -
Saturday April 1, 2017
cards/flowers : As the story goes, in 1564, France was one of the first nations to make January 1 officially New Year's Day, instead of the last week of March which was previously observed. In 1582, the Pope followed suit. Those who went on celebrating April 1st were mocked. As the zodiacal sign was the fish, The French placed dead fish on the backs of one another. Traditions vary from country to country.
Monday April 10, 2017
cards/flowers : Deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The Seder service on the first two evenings recounts the story of the Exodus NOT a public holiday
Good Friday -
Friday April 14, 2017
Catholic or protestant : The First Council of Nicaea (a gathering of bishops in the early days of Christianity) wanted to find a day to commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
This commemoration had to be linked to Jewish holiday traditions, since the last supper of Christ was believed to be a Jewish Passover meal. But the Jewish calendar is based on lunar and solar cycles, so the Easter celebration had to follow the same calendar.
Sunday April 16, 2017
Family Day -
Monday April 17, 2017
Secular holiday : It was typical in South Africa to take a day off of work after Easter. This day, which is also known as Easter Monday, was renamed as Family Day in 1995. This extra day off for the holiday was meant to give families more quality family time together and to allow them to go on vacations with friends and family.
Freedom Day -
Thursday April 27, 2017
Secular holiday : Commemorates the first post-apartheid elections, where South Africans of all races were freely allowed to determine the future of their newfound democracy. Held in 1994, they saw Nelson Mandela elected as President. http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/unity.html