Including; seasons and other special days during 2023 and 2024
|24 December||Sunday||Christmas Eve|
|31 December||Sunday||New Years Eve - Hogmanay|
|25 Jan||Thursday||Robert Burns Night - Burns Night|
|2 Feb||Friday||Imbolc - an ancient Celtic festival celebrated on the second day of February.|
|10 Mar||Sunday||Mothers day - Mothering Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent)|
|1 May||Wednesday||Celebrating the 1st day in May is an English tradition. May pole, Morris dancing and May Queen. Beltane|
|15 Jun||Saturday||Trooping the Colour|
|16 Jun||Sunday||Fathers Day - the third Sunday in June|
|24 Jun||Monday||Midsummers day - St John the Baptist day or just St Johns Day|
|14 Jul||Sunday||Emmeline Pankhurst Day - The British political activist that helped women get the vote. She was named one of the most important people of the 20th Century|
|15 Jul||Monday||St. Swithins Day. According to legend, the weather on St. Swithin's Day will be the same for the next forty days.|
|1 Aug||Thursday||Lughnasadh - The Gaelic festival for the beginning of the harvest.|
|21 Oct||Monday||Trafalgar Day. Celebrating the victory in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar|
|31 Oct||Thursday||All Hallows Eve|
|1 Nov||Friday||Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival, serves as a celestial threshold where the veil between the natural world and the supernatural realm is purportedly at its thinnest.|
|5 Nov||Tuesday||Bonfire night - Guy Fawkes Night|
|14 Nov||Thursday||Birthday of King Charles III|
|24 Dec||Tuesday||Christmas Eve|
|31 Dec||Tuesday||New Years Eve - Hogmanay|
If a bank holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, a substitute weekday will become the bank holiday. This is usually the following Monday.
Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival, serves as a celestial threshold where the veil between the natural world and the supernatural realm is purportedly at its thinnest. Celebrated from the evening of October 31st to November 1st, Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter, effectively functioning as the Celtic New Year. While modern iterations may associate it with Halloween festivities, Samhain is steeped in rich cultural and spiritual traditions that extend far beyond costumes and confectionery.
At its core, Samhain embodies a poignant interplay of light and dark, life and death, a time when ancient Celts believed spirits and faeries could easily traverse between worlds. Rituals often included lighting bonfires to ward off malevolent spirits, and setting places at dinner tables for deceased loved ones to partake in a symbolic meal with the living. Divination practices, such as reading apple peels or casting runes, were also prevalent as means to gain insights into the looming winter months.
But Samhain was not solely about the esoteric. It had a pragmatic aspect as well; livestock were brought closer to home, and surplus produce was stored to ensure survival through the winter. In this multifaceted festival, the ancients found a harmonious balance between the practical and the mystical, making Samhain a timeless celebration that resonates deeply with both our corporeal existence and spiritual yearnings.
This venerable tradition serves as a potent reminder of the cyclical nature of life and the interconnectedness of all things. It invites one to pause, reflect, and honor both the seen and the unseen forces that shape our lives.
Trafalgar Day, observed annually on the 21st of October, commemorates the decisive naval victory led by Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson over the combined fleets of France and Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. The Battle of Trafalgar, fought off the coast of Cape Trafalgar in 1805, stands as a pivotal moment in British maritime history. The day serves as both a celebration of British naval prowess and a remembrance of the sacrifices made, notably the death of Nelson himself. Traditionally marked with ceremonies, parades, and sometimes naval reenactments, Trafalgar Day is an enduring symbol of national pride and the indomitable spirit that has characterised British naval tradition for centuries.
All Hallows Eve, observed on the 31st of October, serves as the precursor to the Christian festival of All Saints' Day, which falls on the 1st of November. The occasion has ancient roots, merging pre-Christian Celtic traditions with early Christian practices. In the United Kingdom, the day has been traditionally marked by activities such as souling, where children and the poor would go door-to-door, offering prayers for the deceased in exchange for soul cakes. Another enduring tradition is the carving of turnip lanterns, a distinctly British predecessor to the American pumpkin jack-o'-lanterns. While the day might not hold the same level of commercial spectacle as observed in other countries, it nonetheless maintains a sense of the mystical, often accompanied by local folklore and customs. The observance of All Hallows' Eve in Britain offers a more subdued, yet equally fascinating, look into age-old traditions that intersect the spiritual and the cultural.
Trooping the Colour, an annual event typically held on the second Saturday of June, is a grand military ceremony that celebrates the official birthday of the British monarch. Originating from traditional preparations for battle, wherein regiments would troop or display their colours to familiarise soldiers with their respective flags, the ceremony has evolved into a lavish display of pageantry and precision. Hosted at London's Horse Guards Parade, the event features hundreds of officers, horses, and musicians from the Household Division coming together in a spectacular show of discipline and coordination.
The British monarch, accompanied by various members of the Royal Family, reviews the troops in a highly formal procession. Following the inspection, the soldiers and military bands perform intricate drills and manoeuvres, culminating in a fly-past by the Royal Air Force. Not merely an exercise in martial display, Trooping the Colour serves as a symbol of national unity and continuity, drawing citizens and tourists alike to partake in this venerable tradition that so vividly captures the essence of British ceremonial grandeur.
Robert Burns Night, celebrated annually on the 25th of January, marks the birthday of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Revered for his contributions to Scottish culture, Burns is best known for penning works that resonate deeply with themes of love, liberty, and the human condition. The night serves as both a tribute to the man and a celebration of Scottish heritage, observed not just in Scotland but also among Scottish communities worldwide.
The evening typically unfolds around a traditional supper, featuring quintessentially Scottish dishes like haggis, neeps (swedes or rutabagas), and tatties (potatoes). The meal is usually accompanied by the recitation of Burns' poetry and is often inaugurated with the Address to a Haggis, a poem that extols the virtues of this national dish. Following the supper, guests may engage in singing Burns' songs, delivering toasts, and reading selected works, all wrapped up in a convivial atmosphere that embodies the spirit of community and cultural pride.
Beyond the gastronomic and literary elements, Burns Night holds symbolic value as a manifestation of Scottish identity. It serves as a potent reminder of Scotland's rich cultural tapestry, contributing to the continuity and propagation of customs and values that define the nation. Whether observed in a formal setting or a more intimate gathering, Burns Night offers a time-honoured avenue for exploring and appreciating the depth of Scottish culture.
Imbolc, observed on the 1st or 2nd of February, marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Rooted in ancient Celtic traditions, it is a festival that heralds the arrival of longer days and the promise of spring. Particularly significant in the British Isles, Imbolc is traditionally linked to Brigid, a goddess of fertility, healing, and poetry in pre-Christian Ireland, who was later transformed into St. Brigid in Christian folklore.
In the United Kingdom, the festival is often observed with rituals intended to purify and welcome new beginnings. Households might engage in a thorough cleaning, and fires or candles are lit as a symbol of the returning light. In some areas, it is customary to create a Brigids Cross from rushes or reeds, a symbol for protection and prosperity throughout the coming year.
While Imbolc may not command the widespread recognition of other seasonal festivals, it holds a special place in the hearts of those who adhere to neopagan and Wiccan traditions, as well as among enthusiasts of Celtic culture. The festival serves as a touchstone for communal gatherings and spiritual practices, offering an intimate and reflective space to acknowledge the cyclical nature of life and the landscape. As winter's chill begins to wane, Imbolc stands as a quiet but poignant marker of the Earth's continual renewal, deeply woven into the cultural and spiritual fabric of the British Isles.
The sale of arts and crafts at fairs and show has seasonal variations. If you are able to add a theme to your table that pertains to the appropriate time of year, you may see an increase in sales. Specific products will do better than generic products but just having an appropriate sign could work, e.g. Ideal Easter Gifts, Christmas Presents, Great for Fathers Day etc.
The tables below shows a collection of important dates in the UK calendar. If you are only interested in one type of event use the filter. Click on the link below each month to view the craft events calendar. If you would like to be notified of craft events in your region; the week before they take pace, sign up for the craft weekly newsletter.
A bank holiday is in affect a public holiday. We use the word bank because they first appeared in the 19th century with the introduction of the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. In the act, there were four dates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and five in Scotland, they left out Christmas Day and Good Friday (and Sunday) as they were already traditional days off for Christian worship.
We have not seen any new bank holidays since the 1970s. A few were changed when the old act was replaced by the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971, then there was a change in 1973, 1974 and 1978.
Any new Bank holidays since 1971 would be appointed by Royal Proclamation. Except for in Northern Ireland where it is the role of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
There are four national days in the UK. The dates stay the same each year and they are an opportunity to celebrate the patron saints of each nation - St David (Wales), St Patrick (Ireland), St George (England) and St Andrew (Scotland). Unfortunately, these are not bank holidays in either England or Wales - which is perhaps why they are not as well celebrated.
Twice a year, (the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October) the clocks change. They spring forward an hour in March and go back an hour in October. This is sometimes known as Daylight Saving Time, which gives a better description of why we do it. It was introduced back in the early 20th century thanks to William Willet, who believed that the summer mornings were being lost whilst people slept.
The starting date for each season changes by a day or so each year. An equinox (March and September) is when the day and the night are of approximately the same length. A solstice is when the sun reaches its highest or lowest points in the sky at noon, which results in the longest and shortest days.
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and the start of winter but it is a day to celebrate (20-23 December), as from then onwards the days will start to get lighter for longer. You may want to sit outside (cold) burning your Yule log, eating, telling tales, singing and perhaps drinking some mead. Interesting fact that Yuletide in Old Norse could be translated to Yule father, seems familiar.
The wheel of the Year includes eight ceremonial days, Imbolc - time for a spring clean (2 February), Ostara (19-22 March), Beltane (1 May), Midsummer (19-23 June), Lughnasadh (1 Aug), Mabon (21-24 September), Samhain (1 Nov) and Yule (20-23 Dec).
Throughout the year there are lots of days that have a special meaning or significance like mothers day or bonfire night. They have normally come about due to popularity or historical significance.
Midsummer or St John the Baptists day (24 June) is an interesting date because it is set near to the Summer Solstice (the longest day - 19-23 June) and people celebrate Midsummers Eve, the eve of St Johns day.