Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 42
In England less emphasis is placed on Christmas Eve than in other countries, much more is made on Christmas Day. Carol singing, midnight church services and going out to the pub are some of the activities that many families enjoy (sometimes all three activities can be combined into one fun night out!).
In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal, all festivities were banned by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting on what was supposed to be a holy day to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when Cromwell lost power in 1660.
During Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas became a time for gift giving, and a special season for children.
St Patrick's Day - March 17th..St Patrick (c.389-c.461) is the patron saint of Ireland. He was an ancient Briton during the time when Britain was a colony of the Roman Empire. When he was 16 he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland. According to the legend St. Patrick's work in Ireland transformed the country. He drove all the snakes out of Ireland and they all went into the sea and drowned. The snake was a pagan symbol, and perhaps this is a metaphor for the fact that he drove paganism out of Ireland.
In Ireland, March 17th is a public holiday in celebration of his life and death. The feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated all over the world wherever Irish exiles gather.
St David's Day - March 1st St. David (520-588), or Dewi as he is called in Welsh, is the patron saint of Wales. He founded twelve monasteries across the country and went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he became a bishop.
Bank Holidays - public holidays when banks, post offices, shops and some attractions are closed. Bank holidays always occur on Monday (the late Spring Bank Holiday is the last Monday in May).
Midsummer Day - 24th June - ceremonies in honour of the Sun have been held from the earliest times. This day is preceded by Midsummer Night when supernatural beings are said to wander about.