Scrapping Holidays

HM King Abdullah just canceled two national holidays: the celebration of his father’s birthday in November and his own birthday on January 30th.

In Jordan there are two common complaints: too many holidays and not enough of them. But things went a little haywire a few days ago when the Christmas holiday filled into the Eid holiday which spilled over into the New Years which gave birth the longest official holiday in Jordan’s history. And while holidays are great for the people, they tend to have adverse affects on the economy. Consumption does increase, especially this specific one which came during a cold season, but production is halted and so the gears of the economy spin in neutral for the most part.

And even consumption can make things difficult as was proven this time around. Retailers gained a lot but as a result of most people spending the winter holidays indoors, a gas tank shortage was born, whose affects are still being felt two weeks later.

But back to the issue…

In all honesty I never saw the point behind celebrating the King’s birthday and especially King Hussein’s birthday. I’m not refering merely to our country but to any country. Celebrating a monarch’s birthday shouldn’t constitute a public holiday. Canadians celebrate Victoria Day although half of them don’t know who she is or when she was born or died.

In his letter to the PM the King said “I hope that Jordanians can celebrate the two occasions by enhancing national economy”

He also asked the government to set out fixed dates of public holidays for the next 5 years for private and public institutions to be aware.

I don’t remember this ever being done before and it’s a good move. I don’t like the fact that almost all our holidays are unfixed and therefore unexpected. People spend days before a holiday reading the newspaper and talking non stop about whether a certain holiday is on this day or that day or if its been announced.

And while I can accept the fact that many of the Islamic holidays are based on moon sightings and with that comes a bit of uncertainty, most of the other holidays are moved around by the government on a year to year basis so as to create long weekends where a holiday would ordinarily fall on a weekday. People are usually unaware but suspecting that a certain upcoming holiday will be moved to the weekend, but they never know for sure. I suspect this is all the more frustrating when you have a company to run and business to conduct.

In any case, I thought this latest move was a good one even though it should have been done a while back.


  • Yeah I read it this morning and thought it’s quite a good and much-needed move. Not that I mind extra days off, but we tend to over do it in Jordan 🙂 rather than official holidays, I’d ask for a slight increase to the 14-day annual leave in the private sector…

  • Not to downplay the king’s birthday, I’m all for this. Congratulations to the king for caring more about the economy than the celebration of his birth.

  • Well, people who have fixed salaries gotta love the holiday, for me holiday means no work, no money… but you can’t hate holidays after all

  • while i think u right in most of what u said, holidays are good for employees who work full time. i take them as a chance to look after things that are lying around for ages waiting for the spare time i can give them. i like holidays, dont take them away from us (do i sound like a lazy employee now!)

  • Salaam All,

    WOW…It only today that I was telling a friend about how many holidays we have in Jordan, like the king’s and the late king’s birthdays…and I said that I hope this would be abolished…the only person to have the common sense and authority to do this is the king himself…I mean civilised countries do not celebrate their rulers birthdays…take Europe or America…imagine Tony Blair’s birthday becomes a holiday in Britain…he’ll be ridiculed more than he’s now….

    Very good move..GO JORDAN!…

    3UGBAL il jiran…:)

    by the way did you watch Kathem El saher’s new song about’s a must…you could have sth about it

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