Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia’s Parliament adopted a bill implementing a one-off public holiday on October 30 this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Slovaks will therefore be able to enjoy one additional day-off from work – or even a four-day week-end for the most sagacious ones (October 30 being a Tuesday).
This year, both Slovakia and the Czech Republic – that split into two separate states in 1993 – are celebrating the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s foundation in 1918. On October 30, 1918, Slovak representatives adopted the “Declaration of the Slovak Nation” in the city of Martin, claiming independence from the kingdom of Hungary – then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire – and paving the way for its unification with the Czech lands.
The bill, adopted as an amendment to the Act on State Holidays, was approved by the MP’s of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee earlier this month, and adopted by all 96 MP’s present this week, reported the TASR newswire agency. Despite being an only one-time public holiday, this means that shops will be able to close and Slovaks won’t have to come to work on October 30.
The proposal was initially criticized by a number of politicians. The Slovak National Party (SNS) considered in a statement that it didn’t “see a reason to declare such non-scheduled holidays for the future”, voicing the worries of a number of businesses and employers that this law might create a bad precedent. SNS MP’s eventually came around and voted in favour of the resolution.
Others, however, remain sceptical. Opposition MP Ondrej Dostal considers that October 28, not 30, is the traditional date to commemorate the foundation of Czechoslovakia. October 28, 1918, is, indeed, the official date Czechoslovakia gained independence, and is also one of the most important public holidays in the Czech Republic.
In Slovakia, however, it falls short from being recognized as an official public holiday and is only qualified as a “memorial day”, something of a minor version of national holidays and thus considered a normal work-day. For many years now, some have been calling for October 28 to be added to the calendar of official public holidays. This remains, however, a divisive issue, one of the reasons being that Slovakia already has 15 public holidays, one of the highest amounts in Europe.