Lisa's week: What did you do last Sunday?
Yes, here in Germany it was “Tag der Arbeit”, 1st May, and being on a Sunday, you can’t really consider it a day off work for most of us.
Of course the typical Labour Day demonstrations happen no matter what day of the week it is but with the shops usually closed on a Sunday as standard round here, I certainly didn’t notice much of a difference – except the sun came out for everyone!
But did you know that in the UK, they have a system of “substitution” for those Bank Holidays (the British word for “Feiertag”) which fall at the weekend? Bank Holidays fixed to a date such as Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are substituted by a business workday (Monday or Tuesday) if they fall at the weekend. For example, in 2016 Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25th and 26th December) fall on the Sunday and Monday meaning that there is a substitution for Christmas Day (25th) on Tuesday 27th.
In this way, everyone who works in banks, public offices and most businesses have both the Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th off work. Nice, isn’t it?
Of course, with the trend in the UK for Sunday opening for most shops and shopping centres, there are still many people who have to work on Bank Holidays but they will usually receive extra payment or time off in lieu (also meaning substitution) at another time.
Incidentally, May Day was only first set as a Bank Holiday across the UK in 1978 and is fixed to the first Monday in May and is known as “Early spring Bank Holiday”. Although there are also some traditional May Day celebrations around the country in a similar fashion to Germany, you might be happy to know that there was no dancing round the May Pole in my house!
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 3: What's the best way to answer?