The United Kingdom celebrates a variety of public holidays, such as New Year's Day, Easter, and Christmas. Each of the four constituent countries (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) has its own set of public holidays, which means that the specific holidays celebrated may vary depending on the country. The UK also observes several religious holidays, primarily Christian holidays like Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas Day.
In addition to these national holidays, various regions within the UK celebrate their own local holidays, such as St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland, St. Andrew's Day in Scotland, and St. David's Day in Wales. These regional holidays showcase the diverse cultural heritage and traditions present throughout the United Kingdom.
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UK public holidays in 2023
Informal UK public holidays in 2023
January 25 (Wednesday): Burns Night – Scotland
January 22 (Sunday): Lunar New Year
February 21 (Tuesday): Shrove Tuesday
March 1 (Wednesday) St. David's Day – Wales
March 19 (Sunday): Mother’s Day
March 22 (Wednesday): Ramadan begins
March 26 (Sunday): British Summer Time (BST) starts
April 21 (Friday): Eid al-Fitr
April 23 (Sunday): St. George's Day – England
June 18 (Sunday): Father’s Day
September 24 (Sunday): Yom Kippur
October 31 (Tuesday): Halloween
November 11 (Saturday): Remembrance Day
November 12 (Sunday): Diwali
October 29 (Sunday): British Summer Time (BST) ends
November 5 (Sunday): Guy Fawkes Night
Types of holidays in the United Kingdom
There are several types of holidays in the UK, including:
UK public holidays
There are nine public holidays recognised across the UK in 2023. These holidays include national holidays like New Year's Day and Christmas Day, as well as country-specific holidays like St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland and St. Andrew's Day in Scotland. These public holidays are observed by most businesses, schools, and public institutions. The UK is welcoming a new holiday this year with the Coronation of King Charles III (May 8th).
UK religious holidays
The United Kingdom primarily observes Christian holidays such as Easter, Good Friday, and Christmas. While these holidays have religious significance, they are also celebrated in a more secular manner by many people in the UK, with traditions like Easter egg hunts and Christmas markets.
UK regional holidays
In addition to national public holidays, each constituent country within the UK has its own regional holidays. Examples include St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland, St. Andrew's Day in Scotland, and St. George's Day in England. These regional holidays reflect the unique cultural heritage and traditions of each country.
Easter in the UK
Easter in the UK is a religious holiday celebrated by Christians, commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In 2023, the Easter period includes Good Friday on April 7, Easter Sunday on April 9, and Easter Monday on April 10. Church services and family gatherings are common during this time, with many people attending mass or other religious events.
How public holidays work in the United Kingdom
On public holidays, most businesses, schools, and public institutions are closed. However, there are some exceptions, such as grocery stores, which may have limited hours. Public transport often operates on a reduced schedule, so it's essential to check timetables beforehand.
Employers are required by law to provide their employees with a minimum of 5.6 weeks (28 days) of paid vacation each year (pro-rated for part-time employees), which includes public holidays. However, employers are not required to provide additional time off for public holidays that fall outside of the 5.6 weeks of paid vacation. Many employers do offer paid time off for public holidays as a benefit to their employees.
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