Public Holidays are celebrated across the globe, in the UK they are commonly known as a ‘Bank Holiday’, an occasion widely celebrated by workers nationally as they revel in a three day weekend. The origins of ‘Bank Holidays’ can be traced back to the UK’s Bank Holiday Act in 1871, in where the UK were designated four special days across England, Wales and Ireland (Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the first Monday in August and 26 December) and five in Scotland. Since then they have added a May Bank Holiday and on the rare occasion of a Royal Wedding, it is left to the discretion of the Government whether the UK is lucky enough to have another declared… fingers crossed for Harry and Meghan’s nuptials, but we aren’t holding our breath.
The UK is not the only place to enjoy a national or bank holiday. There are many celebrated worldwide, some for stranger reasons than others. In this blog we explore the weird and wonderful reasons countries have a day off work. We hope you enjoy…
A country that has some extremely bizarre and quite wonderful annual national holidays. On the last Sunday of every May, Turkmenistan folk come out to celebrate ‘Carpet Day’, yep that’s correct, Carpet Day! This special occasion was said to be ‘rolled out’ (apologies) to celebrate the incredible masters and workmanship of carpet weaving. Definitely not a day to be swept under the rug.
Adding to the list of unusual celebratory days off is Melon Day. Every second Sunday in August the Turkmen people celebrate Annual Melon Day, which is devoted to the countries muskmelon which they believe to be the fruit of paradise.
Last but not least, Good Neighbourliness Day, a day where the president thanks the Turkmen people for showing continuous respect for their neighbor with an annual holiday. And why not.
The Japanese are no stranger to public holidays. They celebrate everything from Vernal Equinox Day to The Emperors Birthday. Japan celebrate so many public holidays, that they cleverly devised a system that allowed them modify Japanese Law. The Happy Monday’s System enabled the country’s Public holidays to be moved from mid-week to Mondays, thus creating a longer, three-day weekend. They also celebrate a healthy and very wise day to promote sports, physical and mental health on October 10th, this being called a very simple and to the point name – Health and Sport Day.
One country that seems to have some very questionable, yet fascinating public holiday’s. China is one of the countries, along with Egypt and Hong Kong, which hosts the most public holidays per year around the world. They enjoy a national holiday to celebrate the life of Florence Nightingale, the formidable founder of modern nursing, this holiday is called International Nurse Day. We are all familiar with Chinese New Year, but have you ever heard of Tomb Sweeping Day or Moon Festival? Dragon Boat Festival or National Day, where a full military parade marches through Tiananmen Square, Beijing during Golden Week.
Continuing with our Asian connection, we shift our focus to South Korea. Whilst we can all appreciate how important the alphabet is, wouldn’t it seem slightly over the top to have an entire day devoted to it? Well not if you live in South Korea, because they have their very own Korean Alphabet Day. Known as Hangul Day, it celebrates the country’s invention of it’s alphabet in 1446. In 1991 however, it was axed due to complaints by workers that there were too many days off – you heard that right, complaining of too many days off! However sanity prevailed, and it was reinstated in 2013. So, on the 9th October every year it is as simple as A,B,C, the South Korean’s enjoy a day of rest to celebrate their alphabet.
If you lived in a climate where it is constantly raining and blighted by monsoon like weather, then this is one is self-explanatory. ‘Blessed Rainy Day’ is a day to celebrate the end of the wet season. The people of Bhutan mark Blessed Rainy Day by taking an outdoor bath where they are cleansed of ‘bad karma’. On the morning of this day, the Bhutanese people gather together and prepare a traditional meal of thup (a type of porridge)! If you are ever lucky enough to visit Bhutan, then this interesting national holiday is the 22nd September.
So next time you jet off to your chosen destination or you are on a work trip in any of the above on these dates, then brace yourself and prepare for some great bank holidays with a twist!