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Thread: Just how important is a country's national holiday ?

  1. #1
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    Question Just how important is a country's national holiday ?



    The probable next Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme, was asked by journalists on 21 July (Belgium's national day) what was celebrated on that day. He answered that "he thought" that it was the signing of the first constitution. He was wrong as all the media pointed out. 21 July 1831 was the day Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was sworn in as first King of the Belgians. Worse, Mr Leterme was asked to sing the Brabançonne, Belgium's national anthem, and he sang France's Marseillaise instead ! This two blunders on the national day will leave him ashamed for quite a while.

    However, the Flemish media have done a quick survey, and they found out that only 20% of the people questioned knew what the 21 July celebrated. The new Walloon Premier, Rudi Demotte, was also unable to give a proper answer, and even Guy Verhofstadt, who has been Prime Minister of the country for 8 years, had to think carefully for a few minutes before answering the journalists, to be sure not to mistake.

    It is true that many events of the Belgian Revolution of 1830-1 could have been chosen to celebrate the national day. It could have been the 25 August 1830, when the revolution started. It could have been the declaration of independence on 4 October, or when European powers recognized Belgium's de facto independence on 20 December 1830. We could also imagine that the day the constitution was proclaimed (7 February 1831) was a good date too, like in many other countries. I see one more possible date, 19 April 1839 when the Treaty of London signed by the European powers officially recognized Belgium as an independent and neutral country. But it was 21 July's "monarchy day" that was chosen over "revolution day" (like in France), "independence day" (like in the USA) or "constitution day" (like in Japan).

    The truth is, in a country where national pride is often overriden by regional pride, most people, and even top politicians, have little interest what the national day is about.
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    That's true. In England, we don't even celebrate the national day at all. I think some people remember when it is (I don't), but it's not a national holiday. Ireland, Scotland and Wales all have their national day as a holiday; I think England should too!

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    The Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme should resign...



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    Quote Originally Posted by Minty View Post
    The Prime Minister of Belgium, Yves Leterme should resign...
    He is not yet Prime Minister. It's been 2 months since the elections and they haven't been able to form the new government yet !

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