Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Hello again and welcome back to more on the topic of Bank Holidays (UK) or Public Holidays.

Originally, 33 saints’ days and religious holidays were observed in the UK but in 1834 this was reduced to four – 1st May (May Day), 1st November (All Saints’ Day), Good Friday and Christmas Day. The Bank Holidays Act of 1871 stated that no one should be compelled to work or make payments on an additional four days in the same way that no work should be carried out in the original “common law holidays” of Good Friday and Christmas Day. It’s suggested that people were so grateful that these days became known as Bank Holidays. These days, all the days are colloquially known as Bank Holidays. There have been many changes to the days available to the public in this way over the years and further history on this topic can be found online. Several changes occurred during the 1970s and as recently as 2007, Scotland received St Andrew’s Day as an official Bank holiday at the end of November.

Bank Holidays in the UK are treated a little differently to Germany.

The main difference is that if the moving days that are fixed to a date (such as Christmas Day) fall at the weekend, they are substituted by the following weekday. This is usually the Monday of course, but if Christmas Day and Boxing Day fell on Saturday and Sunday respectively, Bank Holidays would be substituted on the following Monday and Tuesday. Each year, a Royal Proclamation announces the Bank Holidays for the year and will also note those substituted days, officially called “a bank holiday in lieu” of the anniversary days.

The Royal Proclamation can also announce additional days, which are often added to an existing three-day weekend such as for the Royal Wedding of Prince William to Catherine on Friday 29th April 2011. In addition to extra days, Bank Holidays have been moved once or twice making a four-day weekend to celebrate something specific such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 or the commemoration for the 50th anniversary of VE day in 1995.

If all of that wasn’t confusing enough, there are also small differences between England and Wales (8 days), Scotland (9 days) and Northern Ireland (10 days).

Here’s the list along with their names and where they are celebrated:


1st January – New Year’s Day (will be moved to the following Monday if it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday)

2nd January – 2nd January (celebrated only in Scotland)

17th March – St Patrick’s Day (or the following Monday if it falls at the weekend - celebrated only in Northern Ireland)

The Friday before Easter – Good Friday

The Monday after Easter – Easter Monday (celebrated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

First Monday in May – May Day or Early May Bank Holiday

Last Monday in May – Spring Bank Holiday

12th July – The Twelfth or Battle of the Boyne (or the following Monday if it falls at the weekend - celebrated only in Northern Ireland)

First Monday in August – Summer Bank Holiday (celebrated only in Scotland)

Last Monday In August – Late Summer Bank Holiday or August Bank Holiday (celebrated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

30th November – St Andrew’s Day (or the following Monday if it falls at the weekend - celebrated only in Scotland)

25th December – Christmas Day (or the following Monday if it falls at the weekend)

26th December – Boxing Day (or the following Monday/Tuesday if it falls at the weekend)


Phew! There’s a lot of information there but if you want more, just look online. Wikipedia and the BBC both provide more background and articles. In the meantime, have a wonderful Corpus Christi weekend and I’ll see you back here next week!



What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1