Some Brazilians work only 4 days during Cup
RIO DE JANEIRO
THE Brazilian authorities have augmented the country's long list of public holidays during the World Cup to let the football-loving country enjoy the tournament and also cut down on traffic problems.
Brazil is known for its generous number of public holidays.
There are nine national holidays every year, which is not an exceptionally large number. But it is supplemented by seven "optional" holidays granted at employers' discretion.
Then there are the state and municipal holidays.
In Rio de Janeiro, whose citizens are known for their laid-back approach to life, there are three local holidays: Saint Sebastian Day, Saint George Day and Black Consciousness Day.
Other local holidays commemorate events such as the founding of towns, colonial massacres and a conflict known as the Ragamuffin War.
The World Cup has brought the phenomenon to a whole new level.
When Fifa demanded Brazil pass a wide-ranging "General Law of the Cup" regulating the organisation of the tournament, Brazilian legislators used the occasion to add some more holidays in between provisions on trademark protection and special visas.
The law provides for an afternoon off every day that Brazil has a match, as well as a holiday for host cities every time they host a game.
Critics say the days off are just another way to hide the country's overburdened transport systems and infrastructure problems.
Rio and Belo Horizonte in the south-east have three extra days off, the western city of Cuiaba and the capital Brasilia have four, while Sao Paulo has six.
In Salvador in the north-east, the combination of weekends, national holidays, local holidays and match days means people will have to show up at work for only four full days during the three-week period from last Thursday to July 2.
Many schools have also started their July vacations this month to let students take part in the World Cup party.