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Debate over Christian holidays on the rise in France

The mayor of Grenoble wants to draw up a “more pluralist” calendar by replacing religious holidays with secular celebrations.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus GRENOBLE 06 DE JUNIO DE 2023 13:54 h
The mayor of the French city of Grenoble, Éric Piolle. / Facebook Éric Piolle.

The mayor of the French city of Grenoble, Éric Piolle, recently proposed to change the public calendar, replacing some religious holidays with secular ones.



“We can make our calendar more pluralistic  […] celebrating our common attachment to the Republic”, said Piolle.



The Green Party mayor suggested creating commemorative days for major historic events such as the abolition of slavery, or “acquired rights”, like the abortion or marriage for all. Now, six of the eleven public holidays in France are related to religion.



 



Public debate



The debate over Christian public holidays is back on the agenda since the end of May, when the Interior Minister, Gérald Darmanin, called for a census of children absent from school on the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr, which is not an official holiday in France.



The mayor of Grenoble said the Interior Minister demand was “unacceptable”, because teachers and students have the right to be absent on religious holidays.






Meanwhile, Christians, as well as several media outlets, criticised the idea, pointing out that Piolle did not respect the “patrimonial heritage” of the Christian faith in the county.



The Grenoble mayor responded by stressing that his proposal aims “to leave public holidays open to the choice of each person's religious conviction”.






 



Most French want religious holidays



According to an Ifop-Fiducial poll for Sud Radio published on 2 June, 73% of French population do not want to replace religious holidays with secular celebrations.



Furthermore, a large majority of French people (71%) want to keep the law on the separation of Church and State as it stands.


 

 


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