The origins of bank holidays, or federal holidays in the US, can be traced back to the Catholic Church. Countries, cities, dioceses and guilds had their patron saint and on those patronal feast days and holy days of obligation, there was no work to be done.
In the 19th century, secular governments started copying this concept, but applying it secular political purposes. Political feast days now received the status of “holy days of obligation”, where no employer had the right to enforce anyone to work. Previously, celebrations had always been ‘celebrations’, i.e. people worked during the day and got together in the evening to celebrate. This was now to be changed forever.
There are plenty of good examples to be found. In France, it was only in 1880 that July 14 became a public holiday, even though the French revolution took place in 1789. And likewise in the US, the Independence Day only became a bank holiday in 1941, while the independence dates all way back to 1776.
Semper Excelsius is a website for the defense of the Catholic faith through instruction and informative articles. Its focus is on explaining the rich history and traditions of the holy Roman Catholic Church, while defending her teachings against false assumptions and doctrinal errors.