Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) – The state-recognised Easter holidays will be extended to include Good Friday, too, as of 2016, according to a draft amendment passed by the Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, Wednesday.
The bill is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman into law.
If it takes effect, Czechs will have 13 holidays that are also days off a year.
Good Friday, which commemorates the biblical crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is a state holiday in a number of European countries, including the neighbouring Austria, Germany and Slovakia as well as the Nordic countries.
The authors of the draft legislation, headed by the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), pointed out that even atheists observed Easter and Christmas significant holidays with regard to the cultural tradition and habits.
They also argued with a social aspect of the listing of Good Friday among state holidays. Children at primary and secondary schools have had a day off on Good Friday and the amendment would enable the families to spend this day together, KDU-CSL deputy group head Jiri Mihola said.
He also pointed out that Good Friday had been a national holiday in the former Czechoslovakia and had been abolished only under the communist regime in 1951.
The Finance Ministry calculated that another day off would deprive the economy of 0.4 percent of annual GDP, but the real impact would be lower, maximally 0.1 percent. Consequently, it would be negligible.
Opponents of raising the number of state holidays argued exactly with its negative impact on the state economy in the past.
The national holidays and days off in the Czech Republic are January 1 (the Day of Restoration of Independent Czech State), May Day, May 8 (Day of Victory), July 5 (The Day of SS Constantine and Methodius, commemorating the arrival of the Slavic missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech Lands in 863), July 6 (Day of Jan Hus’s Burning at Stake, marking the Czech religious reformer burnt at the stake in 1415), September 28 (Day of Czech Statehood), October 28 (Day of Establishment of Independent Czechoslovakia in 1918) and November 17 (Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy that commemorates student demonstrations against Nazi occupation in 1939 and against the Communist regime in 1989).
Other days off are Easter Monday, Christmas Eve on December 24 as well as Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day) on December 25-26.