A long weekend is a weekend that is at least three days long because a holiday falls on a Monday or a Friday. Some years have more long weekends than others.
Four-Day Bridge Weekend
A working day that is sandwiched between a holiday and a weekend is called a bridge day. One example is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which is a bridge day that reoccurs every year in the US. Many people have a day off work or choose to take a day from their quota of annual leave to create a four-day break.
In countries where Monday is the first day of the week on the calendar, they sometimes call a long weekend an oval weekend because if you want to include three consecutive days on a calendar, you have to draw an oval around them, rather than a circle.
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When Is the Weekend?
Saturday is part of the weekend all over the world, but it varies if people have Sunday or Friday off. The Christian or Western world marks Sunday as their day of rest and worship. Muslims, rest and pray on Friday, Jews start the weekend on Friday evening and continue into Saturday (Sabbath).
Long Weekends in the US
Some of the weekends listed below occur every year, while others only occur some years.
- New Year's Day Weekend
New Year's Day on January 1 is a federal holiday in the US. If it happens to fall on a Friday or Monday, it creates a long weekend. If it's on a Saturday, people get the day off on New Year's Eve, and if January 1 is on a Sunday, then Monday, January 2 is a day off.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend
This long weekend includes the federal holiday on the third Monday of January.
- Presidents' Day Weekend
Most states observe Presidents' Day on the third Monday of February, creating a long weekend.
- Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day is a federal holiday on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day.
- Independence Day Weekend
If July 4 happens to be on a Friday or Monday, it creates a long weekend. If it's on a Saturday, people get the day off on Friday, July 3, and if Independence Day is on a Sunday, then Monday, July 5 is a day off.
- Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day is a federal holiday on the first Monday of September.
- Veterans Day Weekend
Whenever November 11 is a weekday, federal government offices are closed. If it is on a Saturday, these offices close on Friday, November 10 instead. If Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, federal government offices are closed on Monday, November 12. State and local governments, schools, and non-governmental businesses are not required to close and may be open.
- Thanksgiving Weekend
In the USA, the fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving and a public holiday. The day after is Black Friday which is a non-working day in some businesses.
- Columbus Day Weekend
The second Monday of October is a day off in most states. It is not a holiday in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
- Christmas Day Weekend
Christmas Day is a national holiday when government offices, organizations, businesses, and schools are closed, almost without exception. If it is on a Saturday, Christmas Eve is a day off; when it falls on a Sunday, the Monday after is a day off. Christmas Eve is a state holiday in Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. In some states, it is a partial day off.
Bank Holidays in the UK
Bank holidays are, as the name suggests, official holidays when banks and most businesses are closed. Some are observed on the same day all over the UK, but sometimes the date varies from one area to another. Some bank holidays always create long weekends, while others do so only some years.
- New Year's Day Weekend
If January 1 happens to be on a Friday or Monday, it creates a long weekend. If it's on a Saturday or a Sunday, people get the following Monday off. In Scotland, there is an additional holiday on January 2 to celebrate Hogmanay.
- Easter Weekend
Because Good Friday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Easter weekend is always a long weekend. Easter Monday is a bank holiday in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, but not in Scotland.
- St Patrick's Day Weekend
In Northern Ireland, St Patrick's Day on March 17 is a public holiday. If it's on a Saturday or a Sunday, people get the following Monday off.
- Early May Bank Holiday Weekend
This bank holiday on the first Monday in May is a day off all over the UK. Many organizations, businesses, and schools are closed, while stores may be open or closed, according to local custom.
- Spring Bank Holiday Weekend
The spring bank holiday, also known as the late May bank holiday, is a day off work or school all over the UK. It is on the last Monday of May. However, it used to be on the Monday after Pentecost, Whit Monday.
- Liberation Day in May
In Guernsey and Jersey, May 9 is a local holiday celebrating the two islands' liberation from 5 years of German occupation during World War II. If it is on a Friday or Monday, it creates a long weekend.
- Battle of the Boyne Weekend
People in Northern Ireland have a long weekend when this bank holiday on July 12 is on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. They get the Monday off when it falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
- Summer Bank Holiday Weekend
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, this long weekend includes the last Monday of August, while in Scotland, it includes the first Monday of August.
- Christmas on a Weekend
Some years, Christmas Day on December 25 coincides with the weekend and creates a long weekend. Some years, Christmas Day creates a long weekend. If it falls on a Saturday, people get the following Tuesday off. Boxing Day on December 26, is also a public holiday. If this day is on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be off, creating a four-day long weekend.
Royal Bank Holidays
Some years, people in the UK have enjoyed an extra bank holiday for royal celebrations, for example when Prince Charles married Diana in 1981. 30 years later, there was another bank holiday to celebrate Prince William's wedding to Kate in 2011, as well as for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
These additional bank holidays costs the UK economy between £1.2bn and £2.3bn (from US$1.55bn to US$2.9bn), according to different sources. Recently, especially after the financial recession in the UK during the late 2000s and early 2010s, several politicians suggested putting an end to bank holidays altogether. However, they seem to agree that this would be a hugely unpopular task.