That's how the beloved "People's Daily" has described China's upcoming holiday season, which begins this weekend. With two major holidays (Mid-Autumn Festival, which is obviously based on the lunar calendar) and National Day (October 1) falling so close together things were bound to get nutty.
No one in the country had a clue as to what the holiday schedule would look like until last week when the government released its "NOTICE OF THE GENERAL OFFICE OF THE STATE COUNCIL ON THE ARRANGEMENT OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN 2010."Here's the plan as described in the People's Daily article:
"The arrangement shows that there are 12 rest days and 11 working days from September 18 to October 10. September 19 (Sunday) and September 25 (Saturday) will be considered as working days because of the Mid-Autumn Festival, and September 26 (Sunday) and October 9 (Saturday) will be working days because of the Chinese National Day."
Got that? Don't worry....neither do I!
Here's a little ditty that's floating around the internet that may help:
One day off, three days work;
Six days work, seven days off;
Two days work, one day off.
A few years back when China instituded these silly mandated 7-day holidays nationwide, I wrote a blog post titled "It's Next Thursday." In honor this year's upcoming 'most complex holiday schedule in history,' I'm reposting it in it's entirety below.
It's Next Thursday
Here in China we're gearing up for the big May Holiday (May 1 is International Workers Day), which officially begins on Monday. In 1999, the government decreed that henceforth this holiday would include 7 days off, not the 3 that it had been for ages. All government offices, schools, factories, and most businesses (not retail) will close their doors for 7 days. The main reason for this extended holiday (or "golden week" as its called) is not to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the workers. Rather, the government instituted the week-long holiday in an attempt to get people to spend money. "Hey, I know, let's give them 7 days to shop and travel and spend money---get all those billions of yuan out from under the mattresses and into the economy." The great international communist holiday has morphed into one grand frenzy of unabashed consumerism. LONG LIVE THE WORKERS. WHAT'S ON SALE AT IKEA?
But this being China, nothing is as it seems, and everything is more complex than it appears at first glance. Ok, so beginning Monday, we have 7 days off. BUT....today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday) are work days. Come again? That's right. Everybody here put in a full work week Monday to Friday, and have now had to work this weekend as well. The way it plays out is that this Saturday and Sunday are really next Thursday and Friday. Are you in school? Whatever classes are scheduled for next Thursday and Friday are being held today and tomorrow. Today is next Thursday and tomorrow is next Friday!
It's true that beginning on Monday, everyone will have 7 days away from work. But, they've just come off of 7 days straight at work. In other words, in a 14 day period, everyone will have worked for a total of 7 days. In a normal 14 day period, everyone would have worked for 10 days. Which means that they're only really getting three days off.
Hey wait. Wasn't that what it was to start with? Me thinks that a billion people are being hoodwinked here!