Spring Bank Holiday

Spring Bank Holiday Quick Facts

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2019 Date:27 May 2019
2020 Date:25 May 2020
Spring Bank Holiday

Spring Bank Holiday History

Spring Bank Holiday is a day off work and school. The day is usually spent catching up with friends and enjoying the early summer weather. As with other Bank Holidays the origins of the festival are related to archaic religious festivals.

In 1971, the government replaced a previous late May holiday known as Whit Monday, a Christian holiday commemorating the day the Holy Ghost descending to Jesus Christ's disciples and marking the end of the Easter season. The day originally coincided with  Easter but it has since been moved to the end of May and renamed Spring Bank Holiday. The Spring Bank Holiday is celebrated in the UK on the last Monday of May each year.

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Spring Bank Holiday Facts & Quotes

  • In the British county of Gloucester, a 9 lb wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down a steep hill. The cheese reaches speeds of up to 70mph. People chase after it, the first person to cross the finish line at the bottom of the hill wins the aforementioned cheese.
  • As with many British holidays, there are layers of history behind the current configuration. Pagan rituals like rolling burning bundles of brushwood to represent the birth of a New Year and scattering buns, biscuits and sweets as a fertility rite are now subsumed within the larger bank holiday.
  • In 2012, the Spring Bank Holiday was moved to create a 4-day weekend on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne) in early June.
  • Bank Holidays were first introduced by the Bank Holidays Act of 1871, which allocated four holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with Scotland having five.
  • No-one's going to stop us doing it. They say it's not official but we are all Brockworth people and we're running the cheese today so it is official. We strongly believe in it. – Helen Thorpe, former winner of the Cheese-Roll

Spring Bank Holiday Top Events and Things to Do

  • Enter the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling race! In the small British village of Brockworth people climb to the top of Cooper’s Hill and proceed to chase large wheels of cheese down again. The world famous event, the event is organic and takes place spontaneously. A brief period of semi-management did occur but the event is so dangerous (broken arms and legs are common) that it seems no one wants to be held liable.
  • Visit your local park. As a secular holiday, the Late Spring Bank Holiday is usually a time for catching up with friends and family whilst enjoying a day off from work and school.
  • Get on your dancing shoes! In Britain Bank Holidays are famed for their nightlife. Clubs put on large line-ups featuring world class of artists, DJs and bands. Taking advantage of the extra day off means clubs open on Sundays too. Try the Warehouse Project in Manchester or Bussey Building in London.
  • Attend a festival. There are numerous festivals that run on this Bank Holiday. We recommend the popular Hay Festival of Literature & Arts, which has been held since 1988 in Hay-on-Wye (Wales). Bill Clinton described the festival in 2001 as the Woodstock of the mind. There are iterations of the festival all around the world, the original one runs from May 26th to June 5th and brings writers from around the world to debate and share stories. Attending this year will be David Gilmour from Pink Floyd and Suzanne Vega in concert.
  • Go for a walk. May is National Walking Month in the UK. If the weather holds up then try sampling some of the UK’s beautiful natural scenery from the coastal lowlands of Norfolk to the mountains of the Outer Hebrides.

Spring Bank Holiday References and Related Sites

Cheese in Gloucester

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