From the celebration of carpets and melons to our generation’s love of the long three-day-weekend, I delve into the topic of Bank Holidays.

The Bank Holiday

A public or bank holiday is a legal holiday generally established by law and more often than not it is a non-working day in the year. They usually commemorate the anniversary of a significant historical event or person. The term Bank Holiday was coined in 1871 when the government introduced legislation stating banks would have to close on the days in question.

New, sometimes one-off, bank holidays are added to the calendar for certain events of interest and importance including our very own Queens diamond Jubilee this year and Prince William and Kate’s wedding of the year in 2011.

Portugal has recently announced the suspension of four out of 14 of their public holidays

As soon as this news came to light (after getting over the fact they enjoyed 14 bank holidays compared to our eight) I got to thinking about the various, both traditional and new, wonderful public holidays we experience both near and far across the globe.

Here are 10 Interesting Public Holiday facts…

  1. China, Hong Kong and Egypt have the most public holidays per year in the world.
  2. The UK only has eight standard bank holidays a significant amount less than other European countries.
  3. On October the 10th Japan celebrates Health and Sport day (Yes just like we used to at school). In a bid to promote sports, physical and mental health this public holiday commemorates the opening of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
  4. Japan created the Happy Monday’s System which modified Japanese Law enabling the move of a number of Public holidays from mid week days to Mondays, creating a longer three day weekend.
  5. New Year is the most celebrated public holiday across the globe.
  6. There are campaigns to increase the amount of Bank holidays in the UK suggestions as to when are St Georges day (It only seems fair as St Patrick’s day is a public holiday in Ireland), William Shakespeare’s birthday, after all he is regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and is a national institution. It’s the least he and we deserve surely?
  7. The New York times estimated that three billion people tuned in worldwide to watch the Royal wedding, a one off bank holiday in the UK to celebrate Price Williams wedding to Kate Middleton. That’s nearly half the world’s population!
  8. China enjoys a national holiday to celebrate Florence Nightingale, the forerunner of nursing. The national holiday is named International Nurse Day.
  9. St Patrick’s Day is arguably the most widely celebrated Saints day in the world.
  10. Turkmenistan celebrates a number of, out of the ordinary, weird and wonderful annual national holidays.

Here are a few that tickled me…

Every second Sunday in August the Turkmen people celebrate Melon day, a day devoted to the festivities to celebrate the countries muskmelon which they believe to be the fruit of paradise

On the last Sunday of May the people of Turkmenistan celebrate Carpet day, yes you heard it, Carpet day. A holiday that recognises the masters of carpet weaving

The first Sunday in December marks Good Neighbourliness day in Turkmenistan. A day in which the president gives thanks to the Turkmen people for abiding by an age-old tradition and continually showing respect to their neighbour

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