Did You Know?
The very first holidays were those originated by the church. Christmas and Easter were always set aside, as were Sundays when anyone whose work allowed them to, had the day off. Bank holidays followed and these became general holidays. Those rare days off mean’t a great deal to people who worked long hours seven days a week, sometimes from dawn to dusk and had no annual holiday. There was no income other than that which they earned to support their families.
When Sundays were recognised as a day of rest there were many restrictions and things they could not do. Unlike today when many families do their weekly shopping as well as other tasks such as the washing and ironing. There were strange rules they had to adhere to. For instance, women were able to knit and embroider on the Sabbath but not sew. Perhaps it was because sewing was part of their household duties. The average mum was obliged to spend a great deal of her time darning, patching and doing make and mend on their children’s and their own clothes.
Consequently they did all they could to ensure Bank Holidays and any day they had off was organised to be one to remember and hopefully better than any they had the previous year. Everyone was keen to contribute and join in the celebrations. These were great times and often the only opportunity families had to all get together and really enjoy themselves. You can be sure they did! Such occasions might also have been one of the few chances young ladies had to meet potential suitors.
The jobs we do now are not nearly as backbreaking as those done by our forefathers and although we no longer have to work such long hours or every day of the week, the number of Bank Holidays has increased over recent years. These are in addition to the number of weeks annual leave built into the contract of employment we all get.
How nice it would be if everyone could get together and find the time to re-enact the old ways of having a good time. It would go some way to restoring the friendship and neighbourly companionship that was so important in days gone by when people of all Classes in the Community had to support each other. There was no one else for them to depend on.
valley lad – [EIGHTY-EIGHT]