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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bank Holiday

In 1871 The House of Commons passed the Bank Holiday Act, creating public holidays. The Act designated four Bank Holidays in England and Wales (Easter Monday, Whit Monday, First Monday in August and Boxing Day plus St Stephen's Day in Ireland. 

These first Bank Holidays were brought in thanks to Liberal MP and banker Sir John Lubbock. People were so grateful they dubbed them St Lubbock’s Days.

The first Monday of September is when Labour Day is celebrated as a salute to working men and women across the country. Its origins go back to 1884 when the Knights of Labour held a big parade in New York City and passed a resolution to hold future parades, always on the first Monday in September. It spread and was celebrated in many areas and in many states. Ten years later, U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed an act of Congress, making Labour Day a federal holiday in the U.S.

Columbus Day only became an official American Holiday in 1937. It happened because The Knights of Columbus, an influential male-only Catholic organization, wanted a strong Catholic role model for their children to be dignified by the government. After intense lobbying by the Knights, President Franklin Roosevelt and Congress declared Columbus Day a legal and federal holiday.

May Day was introduced in 1978 in the UK, when the first Monday in May and the final Monday of May in Scotland, were designated as bank holidays.

Argentina is the country with the most national holidays in the world, with a total of 19 days off.

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