Wondering Why Stores Were Closed Yesterday?

By , 21 May 2018, 14:32 PM Lifestyle
Ljubljana Cathedral side door detail Ljubljana Cathedral side door detail

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The slow but steady infiltration of religious norms into the secular society. 

May 21, 2018

We proudly admit that for the first time in the history of Recipe of the Week our recipe – cherry pie – failed at several stages of its production, and eventually had to be abandoned altogether.

In an attempt to nevertheless save the post we headed to the nearest shop yesterday as we were out of rum and some other important ingredients, until we found that all the stores were closed. Was it perhaps due to World Bee Day (May 20)?

Not at all.

All shops were closed due to the religious holiday of Pentecost, just as they had to remain closed on Easter Sunday and Monday, and will also be closed on the days of the Assumption of Mary and finally Christmas, so that every atheist of this still relatively secular state doesn’t miss the most important days of the Church calendar and stays at home “in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit”, as Wikipedia explained to us why we couldn’t buy rum yesterday.

The history of conservative attacks on Sunday shopping have a long history in Slovenia. In 2003 there was a referendum at which 1/5 of the voters decided stores should be closed on Sundays while the rest stayed at home. The referendum thus passed the no-shopping bill, but shops remained open anyway.

Then in October 2017 a conservative MP, Andrej Čuš, filed another bill on closing stores to be debated in Parliament, and the main concern was not the low payment of the workers but giving them Sunday as a day off instead. This was perhaps because most people in work in stores are women, with the idea being that they should stay home on Sunday in order to better fulfil their roles as mothers and wives, although this author wishes to make clear that taking women out of the labour market so that they engage in unpaid domestic labour is not something we consider a day of “rest”. But what’s even more important in this context is that if people work or shop on Sundays then they can’t go and hear the sermon, can they?

The failed overall ban on Sunday shopping then returned in the form of collective agreement annex, signed by the Trade Union of Workers in the Trade Sector, Upper Carniolan Trade Unions Council, Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Association of Employers on November 30, 2017, just two months after Andrej Čuš presented his bill to the parliament. In a way this annex was saving the trade sector from job losses, while at the same time it raised hourly pay on special days and holidays.

However, this agreement also listed 10 “main” holidays on which shops now have to be closed, five of which are religious. Is this going to make the right-wing happy or is it just giving them time to prepare for the next step, such as the long-wished for ban on abortion, perhaps? It all depends on the June 3 elections.

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