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Colombian Holidays and the Monday "Emiliani Law"
Colombia is a country known for its warm-hearted people and culture. One thing that you might have noticed too if you’ve been here for more than a few weeks is that it feels like every other Monday is a festivo. With a total of 20 public holidays (festivos) in a year of which 18 will fall during the week, so schools and jobs will have the day off, it ranks as the fourth country globally with the most days off. Thus, offering Colombians and visitors plenty of opportunities to join in on the nation’s festivities.
This practice of earmarking days for special events gradually spread across different nations. For instance, in the Roman Empire, the calendar was filled with numerous special dates due to their extensive pantheon of gods. They enjoyed celebrating each deity, leading to a packed calendar of festivities. As Juan Gossain humorously notes in his column ‘Colombia took the world holiday championship from Russia’ in El Tiempo, “They had so much fun with this that they resembled old Colombians.”
Why Are Colombian Holidays Always on Monday?
In Colombia, the phenomenon of moving certain holidays to Mondays is known as the “Puente Festivo” system, which translates to “holiday bridge.” Is a law called ‘Emiliani Law‘ that was implemented for several reasons:
The “Emiliani Law”
Specifically, the law stipulates that the holidays during the moths of January, March, June, August, October, November, as well as the religious days of Ascension of the Lord, Corpus Christi, and Sacred Heart of Jesus, will be observed on the following Monday if they do not fall on a Monday. Below are the Holidays that always fall on a Monday:
Jan – The Three Kings
March – Saint Joseph’s Day
May – Ascension Day Holiday
June – Corpus Christi Day
June – Day of the Scared Heart of Jesus
July – Saint Peter & Saint Paul
August – Boyaca Battle
August – Assumption of the Virgin
October – Columbus Day
November – All Saints Day
November – Cartagena Independence Day