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  • Orania gets TWO public holidays this week – but the rest of SA doesn’t…

    Orania gets TWO public holidays this week – but the rest of SA doesn’t…

    It’s time to down tools and make a plan for your days off, if you’re one of the estimated 2 500 residents of Orania: The whites-only enclave in the Northern Cape is used to doing things its own way – and that doesn’t change when it comes to observing public holidays.

    Orania to celebrate two public holidays in the next seven days

    Pieter Krige is the CEO of Orania, and he confirmed via his Twitter account that the town will be observing ‘Ascension Day’ on Thursday 26 May. This commemorates Jesus’ ascent to heaven, 39 days after Easter Sunday, and is also observed in a number of Catholic countries across the world.

    Ascension Day, Bitter Enders Day to be observed

    However, that’s not the only public holiday Orania has got coming up within the next seven days. Locals are also preparing to celebrate ‘Bittereinderdag’ – or Bitter Enders Day – on Tuesday 31 May. This marks the official end of the Second Boer War.

    Both events will be observed officially in Orania, but not in South Africa. In trying to hammer home their desire for self-determination, Oranians do not conform to the national programme of public holidays, giving their designated days off some exclusivity.

    When are the public holidays in Orania?

    Although some regions of South Africa do commemorate Ascension Day, it’s not recognised as a national event by the ANC government. In total, there are SEVEN independent public holidays that take place in Orania every year:

    • Majuba Day, 27 February: This commemorates the end of the First Boer War.
    • Founders Day, 6 April: There are twin celebrations for Jan van Riebeek’s 1652 arrival in SA, and the establishment of Orania in 1991.
    • Ascension Day, Various: Though not a fixed date on the calendar, observance takes place 39 days after Easter Sunday.
    • Bitter Enders Day, 31 May: This commemorates the end of the Second Boer War.
    • Language Day, 14 August: The town pays tribute to the Afrikaans language and associated literature.
    • Heroes Day, 10 October: The birthday of former President Paul Kruger commands a public holiday here.
    • Day of the Vow, 16 December: Honouring ‘The Great Trek’, it’s Orania’s only overlap with SA, which celebrates the Day of Reconciliation on this date.

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