Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chennai Holidays: Tamil New Year’s Day & Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s Birthday

Today is one of the holidays in Chennai that the other posts in India don't get. The Foreign Service caps posts at a maximum of 20 holidays (10 US, 10 local) per year, but since different posts (and different consulates) have different local holidays... there's some flexibility. New Delhi had a day off last week, we have one this week!

Anyway, this week's relaxation Tuesday is thanks to Tamil New Year and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's birthday. Tamil New Year falls on the vernal equinox which is generally April 14th. Ambedkar's claim to ultimate fame (I mean, let's face it, is there any bigger honor then getting your birthday off from work?) was for his work in fighting class discrimination in India. 
Last Saturday night saw unusually crowded streets, at least for that time of day/week. We also noticed some fireworks being set off (though none today). In the end, it doesn't seem like a very big holiday around here, but it is none-the-less a welcome mid-week day off!

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