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EVERYONE loves a bank holiday, giving people a day off work and the chance to meet up with friends and family and have a bit of fun.
Here’s why they’re called bank holidays and why they were introduced.
Bank holidays are a chance to meet up with friends and family and relaxCredit: Blend Images – Getty
Why do we have bank holidays?
Bank holidays were introduced as an act of parliament by Sir John Lubbock in 1871.
The Bank Holidays Act introduced public holidays in addition to those customarily recognised.
These were Easter Monday, Whit Monday, First Monday in August; December 26 if a weekday for England, Wales and Ireland.
In Scotland, these were New Year’s Day (or the next day if it fell on a Sunday); Good Friday; first Monday in May; first Monday in August; and Christmas Day (or the next day if a Sunday).
In England, Wales and Ireland, Good Friday and Christmas Day were considered traditional days of rest, along with Sundays and therefore it was felt there was no need to include them in the Act.
The Act was repealed in 1971 and replaced by the Banking and Financial Dealings Act.
The May Bank Holiday was moved to June 2, 2022, meaning non-shift workers have a four-day bank holiday weekend in the calendar.
Why are bank holidays called bank holidays?
A bank holiday is a national public holiday across the country.
The days became known as bank holidays because when Sir John drafted the legislation it was called the Bank Holiday Bill as it progressed through parliament.
Initially, it was just banks and financial buildings that would close, which is where the name comes from.
Over the years businesses, shops, schools and the government all joined in.
Nowadays, in England and Wales, there are normally eight bank holidays every year, while in Scotland there are nine and in Northern Ireland there are 10.
Who invented the bank holiday?
We have Sir John Lubbock to thank for introducing the bank holiday.
Sir John, who was also the first Baron of Avebury, was a scientific writer, banker and Liberal politician.
The young Lubbock struck up a friendship with Charles Darwin after the botanist moved to the village in 1842.
After studying at Eton, Lubbock joined his father’s bank and became a partner when he was just 22 years old.
In 1870 he was elected as the Liberal MP for Maidstone and held the seat four years later but was ousted in 1880.
He also had a strong interest in the worlds of archaeology and biological science.
Lubbock invented the terms “Palaeolithic” and “Neolithic” to denote the old and new Stone Ages.
Which country has most bank holidays?
Myanmar has the most public holidays in the world.
This year its workers will get 30 paid days off.
China will get 18 days this year, while Japan will see 19.
In 2022, England and Wales had the lowest number of bank holidays in Europe with nine, the Mail reported.
The average across the EU is 12.8 days, with the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain on 10, followed by Northern Ireland and Scotland on 11.
Sweden have the most of all EU nations with 16 days.