May Bank Holiday in Ireland in 2020

May Bank Holiday in Ireland in 2020
  How long until May Bank Holiday?
This holiday next takes place in 232 days.
  Dates of May Bank Holiday in Ireland
2021 Ireland Mon, May 3 Bank Holiday
2020 Ireland Mon, May 4 Bank Holiday
2019 Ireland Mon, May 6 Bank Holiday
2018 Ireland Mon, May 7 Bank Holiday
2017 Ireland Mon, May 1 Bank Holiday
  Summary
This holiday is nowadays most closely related to the International Worker's Day celebrated around the world on 1 May each year.

When is the May Bank Holiday in Ireland?

The May Bank Holiday in the Republic of Ireland takes place on the first Monday in May.

History of the May Bank Holiday in Ireland

This public holiday was only legislated in the Republic of Ireland in 1993 and became a holiday on May 4th 1994.

This holiday is nowadays most closely related to the International Worker's Day celebrated around the world on May 1st each year.

However, the idea of a holiday at the start of May predates any labour movement inspired event, and the traditional May Day celebrations owe a debt to the Gaelic festival of Beltane. Indeed this holiday is still called 'Lá Bealtaine' in Irish Gaelic.

Beltane (also spelled Beltine or Beltein) is the anglicised name for the Gaelic May Day festival, which divided the ancient Celtic year in two.

It was believed that each day began at sunset the night before, so Beltane was celebrated by lighting bonfires to honour the return of the sun god. The practice of bonfires on April 30th still takes place in parts of mainland Europe, commonly called Walpurgis Night.

On Beltane, cattle were driven between two fires (the "Beltane Fire") as it was believed this would protect them from disease before putting them out to pasture for the new season.

People followed the same ritual and jumped over the flames to get rid of bad luck. Like Walpurgis Night, this jumping over fires is a common tradition still practised during Nowruz, the ancient Persian spring festival.

Contact with the fire was symbolic of contact with the life-giving sun on its return after the cold and dark winter.

Beltane was therefore considered the last day of winter and was a celebration of the beginning of summer. So in a way, this modern holiday completes the circle back to the culture that first inspired it.

Schools, banks and most businesses will be closed. Retail shops and pubs may open but with reduced hours and public transport may have restricted schedules or run a Sunday service.

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