The mayor of Grenoble wants to draw up a “more pluralist” calendar by replacing religious holidays with secular celebrations.
“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.
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.
Inadmissible. Les fêtes religieuses sont un motif d’absence valable, au titre du calendrier publié chaque année par le ministère de l’éducation nationale. Ce recensement voulu par Darmanin est une terrible dérive autoritaire. Le Pen n’aurait pas fait mieuxhttps://t.co/oVjgSorgXh
— Éric Piolle (@EricPiolle) May 24, 2023
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”.
Je propose de rendre notre calendrier républicain davantage laïc et pluraliste :
laisser des jours fériés au choix selon les convictions religieuses de chacun, et instaurer de nouveaux jours fériés en référence à notre Histoire commune.pic.twitter.com/dELdP2WsQK
— Éric Piolle (@EricPiolle) May 29, 2023
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.