The Spring Bank Holiday, also known as the late May bank holiday, is always reserved for the last Monday in May. This year it falls on Monday, May 31st. This is one of the two bank holidays for May, following the early May Bank holiday. On this day, offices, educational institutions and other establishments are closed so people can enjoy a day off and spend their time with family and friends.
But, why do we have these extra days off, and why are they called bank holidays? We’ve come across some surprising facts and exciting stories. Make sure to read our article for more on this one and find out who we should thank for this.
Back in the days, there were 33 Bank Holidays
Who wouldn’t like to enjoy an extended weekend, right? An extra day to relax, catch up with friends and family, cook your favourite meal or have a barbecue whilst enjoying under the shades. Up until 1834, there were 33 public bank holidays in the UK, mainly referring to saint’s days and religious events. However, the authorities considered this to be excessive, so that same year, that number was reduced to just four.
The Spring Bank Holiday in May replaces what was used to be known as Whitsuntide ( Whit Sunday ). It got its name because it was considered as the most popular day for baptism, associated with white attire and clothes. However, some old traditions have secured their spot for this day, like the cheese rolling observed in Gloucestershire or beer fairs.
Bank Holidays, baptised by a Banker
Yes, we have to thank the banker and liberal politician, Sir John Lubbock, for making this happen, as he authored the Bank Holidays Act in 1871. With this act, he made the four public bank holidays as official as they can be. For a while, these holidays were called “St. Lubbock’s Days”, but that didn’t stick long. Rumour has it that Lubbock enjoyed cricket so much that he chose the bank holiday dates to fall on the days where matches were played in his home town. Whatever the reason, people were excited about the fact that they have a chance to enjoy an extended weekend.
When the second bank holiday in May was moved to the last Monday, it was never officially named. Even today, this holiday tends to either be called the Spring Bank Holiday or the Late May bank holiday. Whatever floats your boat, it’s definitely an excellent opportunity to relax, breathe and step away from your regular Monday routine.
The next Summer Bank holiday falls on the 30th of August. But, it didn’t always fall on the last Monday of the month as it is now. Up until 1971, it always took place on the first Monday of August. However, this bank holiday was eventually moved, as it clashed with the traditional two-week summer break shut down that most companies go through in summer.
Celebrate the Spring Bank Holiday with us!
What’s your usual Bank Holiday tradition? Feel free to let us know; enjoy your days, and make sure to recharge your batteries!
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