Friday, 2 August 2013

Our holidays have lost meaning.

A holiday is a day set aside to celebrate, to fete something or someone of significance and to commemorate special event. For a day to be spared for people to holiday, there has to be a good reason for the attention it receives. But our holidays are meaningless nowadays. Why?
A holiday is not supposed to be like any other day, no, it's a unique day. A day to recreate with family and friends. It's a day to celebrate something, in fact it's not about the day itself, it's not about 1 June or 12th December but the events of that day was what marked it besides other days of the week on that calendar. We have come to a point where holidays have been stripped of their meaning. We are even prompted often by our friends that a national holiday is around the corner, we don't know by ourselves.

Our national holidays are days we should revel in: Madaraka day, Jamhuri day, Mashujaa day and Labour day, these are days of indelible significance. These days signify something that identifies our country from the rest. We celebrate our independence, our labour movement and our heroes and heroines. What has happened now is that those holiday have been reduced to political gimmicks. They are days where a president will not talk about the significance of that day and where the country is from when that all-important day was marked, they will use that day to campaign, defend their development record, harangue the opposition and make half-hearted promises to soothe a dissioulioned public amongst them the sun baked crowd in attendance at the stadium. It becomes a political rally and a day to earn cheap political points. Try squeezing out from the speech a reason why that Jamhuri day should feel special you won't get a word.

The citizens themselves disregard the national day by doing business as usual, even opening hours are like normal days. Flags are rarely draped on closed business premises like sometime ago. Families do not even bond as people are out working. Children do not even know these holidays, all they know is that they won't be going to school for that day, heck, they even recognise a teachers' strike more than a national holiday as a reason to stay at home. They do not know any of patriotic songs otherwise "You guy " by P-Unit is an anthem in class four. The spirit of nationhood and loyalty has been lost. We see Labour day as a day for the President to dish out meagre pay raises for workers than a day to celebrate workers' contribution in developing our country to greater strengths. It's a day to bother the government with one demand after another.

But the question begs, are we given a reason to celebrate? Mashujaa day is just another day for the Head of State to have a field day, it's not really about commemorating our heroes' role in liberating our country. Their dire living conditions are a clear pointer that we unashamedly neglect them more rather than we honour them, then we try to consecrate ourselves by setting a day aside for them, a day where old and aged men and women are given a rare opportunity to drink soda, really? And even after creating an occassion to seemingly honour them, their status is still a footnote in this country. That day is like any other day, we cannot even name one national hero, they are not even our role models for their bravery and determination in acquiring the country to be our own, our heroes are Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga aside from our rot-filled politicians.
It's sad that national holidays have been reduced to just ordinary respites where we are relieved that we won't be waking up at 6:00am for a cold shower before heading off to work. And do not even get me started on how commercialisation has ruined the significance of Christmas. We have Christmas beginning from mid-October to mid-January...let's leave it there. National holidays ought to be respected and honoured. In the same vein, our leaders should steer the country in the right direction to avoid turning national holiday platforms into untimely development seminars and talk shops where they seek to lay clear their track record and seek closure with a dissatisfied and disappointed public. Holidays should be a time to relax and bond with loved ones, catch up with them. A day for kids to spend time with their phantom dad who comes late enough to find them asleep and leaves for work early enough, to beat traffic, when they are still in bed.

There are understandable reasons to scoff at celebrating holidays, hard economic times, lack of interest because we have not been encultured to assign meaning to that special day. But let's not lose their meaning and let's not disparage the efforts of those who made those

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