"Have a good holiday weekend!" So chirped my friend Kathy's email this week as she was leaving for the final fling in the sand over the US Labor Day weekend. "Enjoy YOUR holiday," I replied, because Labor Day is one custom I gave up by moving here.
Argentina chooses to honor workers on the same day as do most other countries (but not the US or NZ), on International Workers Day on May 1. As it occurs in mid-autumn here, with no last-chance barbecues and trips to the cabin, no back-to-school buying frenzies, etc. It's just a welcome day off work for everyone here, including shopkeepers. But this Monday we will all be working.
All said, the change of holidays works out to be fair trade, though at times I feel nostalgia for the Labor Day picnic or the President's Birthday White Sale. More than once I have forgotten one of those Monday holiday and tried calling a US office, or wondered why my children haven't answered my call for three days.
Worse, at times I have ended up working both US holidays (because everyone here is working) and the Argentine holidays as well (since so many of my clients are in the US). No longer! Now that I am starting to get into the rhythm of things better, I'm changing that. I worked July 4 this year but NOT July 9. (So do I get my National ID card now, please?!) But I think I will work Monday as usual.
Given that holidays don't get the commercial hype here (in general, no special sales, cards, or decorations!), they can sneak up on you! Instead of sales extravaganzas, stores actually close!
Thus it took some time for me to start remembering most of the Argentine holidays. Some mornings I would get up, expecting to be able to go into town to pick something up at the store, and over breakfast my dear Argentine husband would surprise me. "Pero querida, hoy es feriado." "But darling, today is a holiday."
But the next holiday here will not catch me napping! I finally copied the major holidays from a website and put them into my Outlook calendar. If my dear friends and family in the US and Canada would now follow suit, we can exchange holiday greetings. Get ready: the next one important holiday is Dia de la Raza. If you don't know what or when it is, time to Google!
Enjoy Labor Day!