There are eight public holidays, or bank holidays a year in Great Britain, that is days on which people need not go to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday. The term "bank holiday" dates back to the 19th century when in 1871 and 1875 most of these days were constituted bank holidays, that is, days on which banks were to be closed. The observance of these days is no longer limited to banks.

All the public holidays, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day observed on the 25th and 26th of December respectively, do not fall on the same date each year. Good Friday and Easter Monday depend on Easter Sunday which falls on the first Monday in May. The Spring Bank Holiday is on the last Monday of May, while Late Summer Bank Holiday comes on the last Monday in August.

Most of these holidays are of religious origin, though for the greater part of the population they have long lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people relax, eat, drink and make merry.

Certain customs and traditions are associated with most bank holidays. The reason is that many of them are part of holiday seasons like Easter and Christmas seasons which are religious by origin and are marked by centuries-old traditions.

Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and simply days, on which certain traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are ordinary working days.