Today is August Bank Holiday Monday in England and Wales. Not the UK, as Scotland has its August Bank Holiday at the start of the month. I’m old enough to remember that England used to do that too, and I don’t know why it was changed.
Bank Holidays are anachronisms, really. Banks and Stock Exchanges are closed, although the computers work constantly. Many businesses are closed, but I suspect increasingly anything non-office based is open. Certainly retail and entertainment venues are open. Bank holidays are big shopping and entertainment days. The idea may once have been to recognise that people deserved a day off together once in a while, but it doesn’t really work that way these days.
The two traditions of Bank Holiday weekends are bad weather and traffic jams.
The US equivalents are ‘holiday weekends’. They seem to be much the same except they have a clearer meaning attached to them.
- New Year’s Day – a calendar celebration (or more likely a fait accompli since everyone was up late the night before and nobody turned up for work.
- Good Friday, Easter Monday (the only four day one unless Christmas is on a Sunday); legacy of our Christian heritage
- Spring (1st Monday in May), which I remember being introduced. In Europe May 1st is the Workers day and I think a Labour government introduced it, probably Jim Callaghan. (When I checked the link, it was started later than I’d thought).
- Early Summer (end of May, used to be Whitsunday weekend), so another Christian celebration
- Late Summer (August); possibly it used to be a quarter day, before Spring BH was introduced.
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day (day after Christmas), again a Christian heritage although, as you know, Christ disappeared once commercial sales got involved.
World building and the Bank Holiday
I sometimes wonder about these celebratory events enshrined in our culture, and whether my worlds should have them too.
The Princelings world doesn’t have any concept of work days distinct from holidays except for Yuletide, which includes all the general ‘memorial’ type of event.
I ought to consider these things more for the Viridian System. Surely they ought to have a Founders Day, or a Settlement Day or something? I had the four musing on different planets’ interpretation of Pete’s Krismas once…
All suggestions welcome.
Do your stories have national or international holidays built into them?
Have you invented any special customs?
Does one caste get the day off, call it a national holiday, while everyone else works?
That seems to be what we do nowadays. I wonder whether it’s a good thing or not.