I went to the courthouse yesterday to file some papers and much to my surprise the courthouse was closed. Upon inquiry I learned that the State and County employees were celebrating an official State holiday, Jefferson Davis’ birthday. As you know, Jefferson Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America during the period of the Civil War. A holiday is a day when you don’t have to go to work, a day of relaxation and pleasure. In this country many holidays commemorate a person or event.
There are two types of official holidays: federal holidays declared by an act of Congress and state holidays by enactment of the state legislatures. In 1971 Congress passed the “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” which placed most holidays to the Monday nearest to where the original holiday was observed. The various states soon followed suit.
There are ten official federal holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Most, but not all of these holidays have been adopted by the States. Of course, Alabama has adopted all of them. In addition to these holidays, Alabama has adopted several other holidays: Robert E. Lee’s birthday, Mardi Gras Day, Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis’ birthday. Some of the other states have adopted peculiar holidays that we may not be familiar with. For example, Arkansas has Daisy Gatson Bates Day and Hawaii celebrates Prince Jonah Kalanianaole Day.
In addition to these official holidays there are many unofficial holidays. State and Federal workers do not get these days off but that doesn’t stop some of us from staying home. Some of the more amusing unofficial holidays are National Hug Day (January 21), International Axe Throwing Day (June 13), World Kissing Day (July 6), Pickle Day (November 14) and National Bacon Day (December 30). Here in Bullock County many of us celebrate February 22 as the start of the Field Trial Day.
If we celebrated all of the official and unofficial holidays we would never go to work. For most of us who work in the private sector, we don’t get off nearly as many days as public employees do. But I do intend to start celebrating National Hug Day and World Kissing Day.
Lynn Jinks is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.