OK, so yesterday I wrote all about scheduling – and here comes the first scheduling “mistake” – forget bank holidays! So… Little did I realise that today is “Implantação da República”, a bank holiday to commemorate the establishment of the Republic of Portugal in 1910 (if you are historically minded, here is a quick summary of the events). I only figured out that it was going to be a bank holiday after I had finished my work on Tuesday and was reading the news before heading to bed… there was an article about 30ºC and going to the beach in one of the papers, and I thought it was rather strange that a newspaper would suggest to skip a day in the office… and head for the beach instead (especially in a country in which good weather isn’t exactly earth shattering news!).
Digging into the article a little deeper, I discovered that it was indeed talking about a mid week holiday: talk about a treat! Luckily I don’t have to go to an office – as I’m sure I would be very annoyed if I would have turned up there only to find out it was closed! This actually happened to me once while I lived in Spain, so it is better not to be repeated… I know, as a freelancing, writing kind of guy this doesn’t or shouldn’t immediately make much difference to me… but at least I now know a bit more! Intriguingly the holiday day was apparently scrapped in 2013 as part of austerity measures in Portugal. But, it has been brought back to life under the current government.
I tried to find out a bit more if there are any traditions associated to the day, but it appears it is largely a ceremonial day for the political classes – rather than something that is more widely celebrated. So, no special cakes, pastries or drinks – but simply a day off – unless you are (un-)lucky enough to stand on the balcony of Lisbon city hall … The only other “regular” event I could find was the opening of the gardens of the Presidential Palace in Belém (am I forgetting something here? Let me know!)
Of course this year is a bit special, as it sees the opening of the new museum in Belém (MAAT Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia) – an absolutely stunning building in the touristic and somewhat political hotspot that is Belém. Coincidentally, it now also makes sense to me why the museum would open on a Wednesday!
So … even if it is “just” a nice and quiet day, it is lovely to find out that there is suddenly a bank holiday. I have now googled and entered all the holidays in my calendar … so next time I’m prepared (for All Saint’s Day as it seems, on the 1 November!). So… in that spirit: Happy Establishment of the Republic Day!