“If all year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.”
Shakespeare’s words in his play Henry IV basically mean that if you had more holidays than work days, holidays would be the new work days. We would be bored with these special days. What about Valentine’s Day? Should it be a public holiday? The day of roses, love and presents, is not recognized as a public holiday in Rwanda. Government offices, stores, schools and other organizations are open as usual.
Public transit systems run on their regular schedule. But restaurants get busier than usual as many people go out for an evening with their spouses or partners.
A civil servant at the Ministry of Labour and Public service is for work on that day.
“Where do we stop if we make this day a holiday? I feel that Valentine’s Day is overrated in the same way that Christmas is. It’s like we are supposed to condense all our affection and love into one day. I believe that sharing love is an every day thing,” she says.
Claudette Nyirahineza, a hair dresser at Eden Saloon at Sonatube in Kicukiro disagrees.
“Since Valentine’s Day is about celebrating your love with someone, it would be great if you could have a whole day together and actually enjoy this moment as long as possible,” she says.
Moses Rutikanga, a professional photographer in Nyamirambo, believes that people cannot just take a day off for any celebration.
He thinks that Rwanda already has many holidays. A lot of them are related to the war.
“I respect the fact that it is our duty to remember what happened and those we lost. Why not swap Valentines Day with a day that will encourage people to prevent war.”
Rutikanga added: “I think we should only remain with those holidays that are already recognized by the law. We should get rid off all those others, like Mum Day, Father Day, and Women’s Day. Right?”