A Year Of Important Calendar Dates For Your Diary
This website is designed to give details about important dates in the calendar that occur each year including bank holidays, public holidays and religious festivals such as Easter. There is also an anniversary page where you can find out which wedding anniversary year is being celebrated and get some inspiration for appropriate anniversary gifts.
We aim to give you the holiday dates for each year and seasonal dates as well as more traditional celebrations. Some dates are easy to remember as they occur on the same date every year. Very few of us would need a diary to remind us that Christmas is on 25th December or that Valentines Day is on 14th February. However, how many of us would know when it was Mothering Sunday or Father’s Day? You wouldn’t want to forget those would you? Not many people know when the clocks change without checking their diary. Public holidays are also important dates to note and some of them, like Easter Holidays for example, can vary considerably from year to year.
New Year´s Day - 1st January
New Year´s Day is the first day of the year. On the modern Gregorian calendar, it is celebrated on January 1, as it was also in ancient Rome (though other dates were also used in Rome). In all countries using the Gregorian calendar, except for Israel, it is a public holiday, often celebrated with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts. January 1 on the Julian calendar corresponds to January 14 on the Gregorian calendar, and it is on that date that followers of some of the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the New Year.
Holiday (UK & Rep. Ireland)
New Year Holiday (Scotland)
There is a public holiday to celebrate the New Year but it is not always on 1st January. For example, if New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday then the public holiday could be on 2nd or 3rd January for that year.
Epiphany is a Christian feast day which celebrates the "shining forth" or revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus on this day, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordon River, his manifestation as the Son of God to the world. It is also called Theophany ("manifestation of God"), especially by Eastern Christians.
Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day
Shrove Tuesday is the term used in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada to refer to the day after Shrove Monday (or the more old fashioned Collop Monday) and before Ash Wednesday (the liturgical season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday). In Ireland, the UK, and amongst Anglicans, Lutherans and possibly other Protestant denominations in Canada including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, this day is also known as Pancake Day, because it is customary to eat pancakes on this day.
In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays). It falls on a different date each year, because it is dependent on the date of Easter; it can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.
St. Valentine´s Day - 14th February
Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14. In the Americas and Europe, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
St. David´s Day (Wales) - 1st March
Saint David´s Day (Welsh: Dydd Gwyl Dewi) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year. The date of March 1st was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.
Mothering Sunday is essentially equivalent to Mother's Day, which latter name is also increasingly used, but this is a recent development, and its history is quite different.
Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations held on the second Monday in March, and marked by a multi-faith service in Westminster Abbey, normally attended by Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London. The Queen delivers an address to the Commonwealth, broadcast throughout the world. Also, in the year before the quadrennial Commonwealth Games, the Queen starts the Queen's Baton Relay on Commonwealth Day at Buckingham Palace, handing the baton to the first relay runner to start a journey that will end at the Opening Ceremony of the upcoming Games.
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast which always falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates an event reported by all four Canonical Gospels Mark "11:1-11", Matthew "21:1-11", Luke "19:28-44", and John "12:12-19": the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion.
St. Patrick´s Day (Ireland) - 17th March
Saint Patrick´s Day (St. Paddy´s Day or Paddy´s Day) is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa 385–461 AD), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on March 17.
Holiday (Northern Ireland & Rep. Ireland) - 17th March
Vernal Equinox – Spring begins - 20th/21st March
Vernal equinox in astronomy is that moment in time when the centre of the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth´s equator, occurring around March 20th each year.
Good Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Golgotha.
Easter is the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. Christians celebrate this day in observance of their belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead two days after his crucifixion (Easter Sunday, commonly referred to as the "third day" including the day of crucifixion), now estimated to have taken place between the years AD 26 and AD 36. Many non-religious cultural elements have become part of the holiday, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike.
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is celebrated as a holiday in some largely Christian cultures, especially Roman Catholic cultures. Easter Monday in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar is the second day of the octave of Easter Week.
British Summer Time begins
British Summer Time (BST) is a summer daylight saving time scheme, 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It starts one hour after midnight.
Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II - 21st April
Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926.
St. George´s Day (England) - 23rd April
St George´s Day is celebrated by several nations, kingdoms, countries, and cities, of which Saint George is the patron saint, including England, the old kingdoms and counties of the Crown of Aragon in Spain - Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia; Portugal, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, and the city of Moscow in Russia, Genova in Italy, Ljubljana in Slovenia, Beirut in Lebanon and many others.
Early Spring Holiday (UK & Rep. Ireland)
The first Monday in May is known as May Day in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Early May Bank Holiday in Scotland. It probably originated as a Roman festival honoring the beginning of the summer season. In more recent times, it has been as a day to campaign for and celebrate the rights of workers.
Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
Pentecost (Whitsunday) is a major festival in the Christian church. It is celebrated on the Sunday which falls on the 50th day after the Easter festival. Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the followers of Jesus, as recorded in the New Testament. Jesus had told them to wait until the Spirit came to them. Ten days after ascension, 50 days after the resurrection, the Spirit came.
Spring Holiday (UK)
The spring bank holiday was originally the Monday after Pentecost. Since Pentecost falls on a variable date, seven weeks after Easter Sunday, the date of this bank holiday was also variable. Now, it always falls on the last Monday in May.
The Queen´s Official Birthday
The Queen´s Official Birthday (sometimes known as "the Queen's Birthday") is celebrated as a public holiday in several Commonwealth countries—usually Commonwealth Realms, although it is also celebrated in Fiji, now a republic. The word "Queen" in the name of the celebration is replaced by "King" when appropriate. The exact date of the celebration varies from country to country, and it does not usually mark the real birthday of the sovereign (the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was born on 21 April 1926). Most Commonwealth Realms release a Birthday Honours List at this time.
Father´s Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, and special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities. In 2008, it was celebrated on June 15 in most countries. It originated in Spokane, Washington. In 2009, it will be celebrated on June 21 in most countries.
Summer Solstice – Summer begins (longest day) - 20th/21st June
Solstices occur twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most oriented toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun to reach its northernmost and southernmost extremes. The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, its apparent movement north or south comes to a standstill.
Battle of the Boyne (Northern Ireland) - 12th July
On July 1, 1690 two kings faced each other across Ireland´s River Boyne. By evening King William had won a decisive victory, preserved the Protestant settlement in Ireland and driven King James into exile. Today William´ss victory at the Battle of the Boyne is still celebrated by the Orange Order whose name honours the Prince of Orange.
Battle of the Boyne Holiday (Northern Ireland)
Holiday (Scotland & Rep. Ireland)
Summer Holiday (UK, except Scotland)
Autumnal Equinox – Autumn begins - 22nd/23rd September
British Summer Time ends
Holiday (Rep. Ireland)
Halloween - 31st October
Halloween, Hallowe´en, or Holloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Common Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, ghost tours, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", carving Jack-o´-lanterns, reading scary stories and watching horror movies. Irish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is celebrated in several countries of the Western world, most commonly in Ireland (where it originated), the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and occasionally in parts of Australia.
Bonfire Night - 5th November
On the night of November 5th, throughout Britain, we commemorate the capture of Guy Fawkes with bonfires and fireworks, and by burning an effigy of Guy.
Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally put aside to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. On this day people across the nation pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave Service men and women.
St. Andrews Day (Scotland) - 30th November
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November.
Advent Sunday is the first day of the Liturgical year in the Western Christian churches. It also marks the start of the season of Advent. In both the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches the celebrant wears purple-coloured vestments on this day, and the first purple Advent candle is lit at mass.
Winter Solstice (shortest day) - 21st/22nd December
Christmas Day - 25th December
Christmas is an annual holiday of Christians that commemorates the birth of Lord Jesus. Christmas celebrations include various traditions such as arrival of Santa Claus, display of nativity scenes, Christmas trees and exchange of gifts and cards.
Holiday (UK & Rep. Ireland)
Boxing Day – 26th December
Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. December 26th, or Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. It is spent with family and friends at open gatherings with lots of food, fun, friendship and love. Boxing Day is so called because it was the custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year. Boxing Day is also St. Stephen´s Day.
Boxing Day Holiday (UK)
St. Stephen´s Day Holiday (Rep. Ireland) - 26th December
St Stephen was a little known saint who achieved eternal fame by being the first Christian to be martyred for his faith by being stoned to death shortly after Christ´s crucifixion.