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National festivals, holidays and events


1st January – New Year’s Day: The beginning of the new year and time to make your new year resolutions. 

25th January – Burns Night: (Scotland): Scots celebrate the life of poet Robbie Burns. 


14th February – Valentine’s Day: A romantic day where people send cards and gifts such as chocolates and flowers to the person they love. Many are sent anonymously. 

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day: The day before Lent begins. Lent is the traditional Christian period of fasting which begins 40 days before Easter and ends on Easter Sunday. Traditionally people would use up their eggs, milk and sugar by making pancakes before fasting.  Many people still make and eat pancakes on this day. 

Chinese New Year - most cities in the UK celebrate Chinese New Year.  


1st March – St David’s Day (Wales):  A celebration day in Wales in honour of Dewi Sant (Saint David) 

Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday - a day to honour mothers and other mother figures, such as grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law.  

17th March – St Patrick’s Day: observance of the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. What began as a religious feast day in the 17th century has evolved into celebrating Irish culture.


1st April –April Fools’ Day: (sometimes called All Fools' Day) is celebrated by playing practical jokes and hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April fools. You must play your prank before 12 noon otherwise it is you that becomes the fool!   

23rd April –St George’s Day: remembers St George, England's patron saint. 

March or April – Easter: celebrated in Christian countries to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ. People celebrate by going to Church and giving Easter eggs. Eggs symbolize new life which is related to Jesus coming back from the dead. There are a few days which celebrated throughout the Easter period. These include Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  Good Friday is a bank holiday in the UK, and even for those who are not religious, a chocolate Easter egg is usually a traditional gift to give friends and family.


1st May –May Day: is an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival. It’s also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.  

Well Dressing Festivals (also once known as well flowering): a summer custom practised in rural England in which wells, springsor other water sources are decorated with designs created from flower petals. 


Father’s Day: is held on the third Sunday of June in the United Kingdom. It’s a day to honour fathers and father figures, such as grandfathers and fathers-in-law.  


The Queen’s Official Birthday: - the Queen celebrates two birthdays each year. Her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday is (usually) on the second Saturday in June.   

Trooping of the Colour: The Queen's birthday is officially celebrated by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour. This impressive display of pageantry takes place on a Saturday in June by her personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with Her Majesty the Queen attending and taking the salute.  

21st June –Summer Solstice: this is the longest day of the year  

The Championships, Wimbledon: commonly known as Wimbledon, it’s the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and widely considered the most prestigious. It’s been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts. 

Glastonbury Festival: a five-day festival of music and performing arts that takes place near Pilton, Somerset. In addition to music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts. 


Eid Al-Fitr: an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. 


Eisteddfod: an artistic event in Wales and one of Europe's largest and oldest cultural festivals of music, song and poetry. 

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: the world's largest arts festival which takes place annually in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, in the month of August.  

Manchester Pride: annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festival, traditionally held over the August Bank Holiday weekend in Manchester city centre. 

Notting Hill Carnival: an annual event each August, over two days (August bank holiday Monday and the preceding Sunday) that has taken place since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England.  


Blackpool Illuminations: an annual lights festival, founded in 1879, held each autumn in the British seaside resort of Blackpool in Lancashire.


31st October – Halloween: some people hold Halloween parties on or around this date and dress up as skeletons, ghosts or other scary figures. 

October/November –Diwali: is a five-day festival observed by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, with its main theme as the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.  Also known as the festivals of lights. Houses are decorated with candles and colourful lights and people share gifts and recite prayers.  


5th November – Bonfire Night: we commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes with bonfires and fireworks, and by burning an effigy of Guy.  

11th November – Remembrance Day: Remembrance Sunday is a day for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. Remembrance events take place throughout the UK. 

30th November – St Andrew’s Day: is Scotland’s national day and is an official bank holiday in Scotland.  It is marked with a celebration of Scottish culture. 


November/December – Hanukkah: Jewish communities across the UK celebrate Hanukkah (Chanukah) the festival of lights.  

25th December – Christmas Day: it traditionally celebrates Jesus Christ's birth but many aspects of this holiday have pagan origins. People give and receive gifts, decorate their homes and prepare special festive meals. Many children wake up to find a sock or stocking filled with small gifts. These have been brought by 'Father Christmas' or 'Santa Claus', who lives for most of the year at the North Pole. He travels in a sleigh pulled by reindeer and enters houses by climbing down the chimney. 

26th December – Boxing Day: is the day after Christmas Day and a public holiday. Traditionally, it was a day when employers distributed money, food, cloth (material) or other goods to their employees. Today it’s an important day for sporting events and the start of the post-Christmas sales.  

31st December – New Year’s Eve: known as Hogmanay in Scotland is the last day of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar. People hold New Year's Eve parties and countdown of the last few minutes of the old year and welcome in the new year often with fireworks. In Scotland January 1 and 2 are bank holidays. In the rest of the UK only January 1 is a bank holiday.