Holidays and Vacations


By Dr Randhir Seewoodharry Buguth


The origin of the word “holiday” (Holy Day) is English, whereas “vacations” (“vacances”) is North American. A holy day is a specific day or period for religious or cultural celebrations. A vacation is a period of time where there is a break from work or daily commitments to relax and travel. Both terms are used to unwind and have a good time.

In human history, the start of the New Year on the first of January is celebrated worldwide, but in certain countries, the New Year calendar differs due to varying cultural backgrounds.

In the UK, the Bank Holiday Act was passed in 1871 by Sir John Lubbock, establishing national statutory days off except for essential services such as hospitals, police, fire services, airports, and customs. Wealthier individuals typically took one week off and rented seaside hotels, while the majority of the population enjoyed day trips to the seaside.

In Mauritius, some holidays have fixed dates while others depend on the specific cultural calendar. In France, the “grandes vacances” represent the summer holidays in August, during which schools close for two months and the French take extended breaks to travel.

In the past, people had limited means of transport and little spare money for holidays. They focused on activities they missed during weekdays, such as self-care, socializing, spending time with loved ones, and pursuing hobbies. Outdoor games and seasonal activities provided enjoyment, while traditional snacks like “dipain maison, salade sardines, piments confis” were common.

In the UK, DIY jobs like house and vehicle repairs are popular during holidays. However, needlework and knitting are less favoured among the younger female generation, who prefer activities such as video games, social media, and watching Netflix.

Resting and relaxing during holidays can reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease circulating cortisol (stress hormones).

Nowadays, holidays are eagerly awaited as people seek respite from long working hours and stressful jobs. The holiday landscape has evolved with established non-working days for both self-employed and employed workers. Extended families often rent accommodations for breaks, and many individuals travel abroad to various destinations, benefiting from increased disposable income.

Affordable travel options include neighbouring islands like Reunion and Rodrigues, as well as group packages to India and Far East countries. Famous tourist sites worldwide have become more accessible, with some travel agencies offering payment facilities for expensive trips.

Mauritius is proud to be ranked as the fifth best destination in the world for honeymoons.

In the UK, those unable to afford international travel may opt for local getaways such as renting static caravans near the sea or camping. Economic challenges are evident, as seen in cases where individuals struggle to afford basic necessities during school holidays.

British tourists commonly visit the USA, France, Germany, Spain, and Turkey. Scotland is renowned for its natural beauty, and many British children visit Disneyland Paris during school breaks.

Some youths engage in rave culture, characterized by youth-oriented subculture activities involving music, art, and social ideals. However, such events can pose risks, including spiked drinks, necessitating proper licensing for organization.

Effective holiday planning is crucial to avoid mishaps, including accidents resulting from alcohol consumption, leaving children unattended near a swimming pool, or engaging in risky activities. Travellers should also be cautious about overspending.

Falling ill abroad without medical insurance or being mugged and assaulted can ruin one’s holidays. Careful planning and risks assessments are highly recommended before travelling to a foreign country.

Certain destinations, such as Venezuela, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, should be avoided due to safety concerns.

When holidays go awry, some insurance companies and airlines provide compensation to affected travellers. During school breaks, many students gain valuable social and professional skills through part-time jobs or work experiences, fostering communication, teamwork, and financial management abilities.

I will conclude by emphasizing that housewives deserve holidays just as much as anyone else, considering the demanding nature of their full-time, often underpaid work.

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 29 March 2024

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