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European History: 1600s-1800s
Holidays
Holidays



Holidays
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.03

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    get-togethers, mini-vacations, Red-berried, seaside, yule, woodsy, operate, evergreen, traditional, atmosphere, arrival, getaway, celebration, mainly, significance, banks
     content words:    Christmas Day, Bank Holidays Act, Holidays Act, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Boxing Day, Victorian England, Victorian Christmas, Christmas Eve, Santa Claus


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Holidays
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Holidays were not something new in Victorian times, but they did take on a new significance. Before this time, holidays had been mainly religious in nature, but during the Victorian era, the idea of holidays began to expand. Holidays became times for family get-togethers and family outings, like mini-vacations.
 
2     The change happened gradually. As the middle class grew, with more free time and more money to spend, families planned special events for their days off from work. At first, this was mainly on Sundays and Christmas Day.
 
3     Then in 1871 with the passage of the Bank Holidays Act, workers gained more days free from work. The Bank Holidays Act set aside certain days that banks would be closed. This meant that other businesses could not operate either, so workers got the days off. The bank holidays in England were Easter Monday, a spring holiday called Whit Monday, the first Monday in August, and Boxing Day, which was usually the day after Christmas.
 
4     One of the most popular holiday activities was a day trip to the seaside. Families would pack a picnic and take the train to Blackpool, Southend-on-Sea, or another seaside town.
 
5     At that time, people did not go to the beach to get a sun tan as they do today. Back then, the attraction was the brisk sea air. Adults took walks on the beach and enjoyed being by the ocean. Little children played in the sand, digging with their pails and shovels and building sand castles.

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European History: 1600s-1800s
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Holidays
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