Why is The Day After New Year's Day a holiday in Scotland and New Zealand?

My new 2010 calendar points out that while The Day After New Year’s Day is a holiday, it won’t be observed until Monday the 4th.

And why is it observed in only Scotland and New Zealand and not, say, in Wales, Canada or India?

I believe there’s some sort of unwritten rule about how many statutory holidays allowed each year. Most of them are accounted for with various officially recognised holidays, both national and international. Could it be that NZ and Scotland (who have a tenuous historical link, incidentally) needed an extra holiday to make up the numbers, and chose that day to stick it?

In Scotland it’s Bank Holiday.

In New Zealand I don’t know - Kiwi’s are odd though. :wink:

(I’m an Aussie - it’s an ongoing joke between the 2 countries)

I remember asking the same question when I lived in New Zealand. I was told that it was analagous to the Boxing Day holiday in the previous week and basically just a good excuse for another four-day long weekend over the Christmas/New Year break, when everything is very quiet anyway. And thankfully there’s not been any attempt to dress it up under some made-up “official” title. It’s quite explicity called the “Day after New Year’s Day”.

Presumably, they need an extra day to sober up/sleep off the hangovers.

New Year has traditionally been a bigger deal than Christmas Day in Scotland. Christmas Day was only made a public holiday in 1958.

Similarly, New Years Day only became a bank holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 1974. I can remember working on New Years Day before then. It was just an ordinary day, even though you had probably stopped up later than usual to see the new year in.

“Stopped up”? Do you mean “stayed up”?

“stopping up” is a an alternative form of “staying up”. As in “will our football team be stopping up (in this league) at the end of the ?”

Scots really, really know how to drink. And Hogmanay is the drinkingest day of the year. Having New Year’s Day off just isn’t enough.

As to why NZ has the day off - no idea. NZers know how to drink, but they are no Scots.

I always thought it was something to do with A) Needing to make up a certain number of statutory holidays per year and B) The fact that no-one is really in a state to work on January 2nd anyway- either getting over the hangover or just exhausted from the Christmas/New Years thing in general.

The order of causation here is the following:

  1. New Year’s Day has always been a big holiday in Scotland. Indeed, it was so much so that it was decided that since Christmas includes two days off in England (counting Boxing Day), they should include two days off for New Year’s Day in Scotland.

  2. New Zealand is very much influenced by Scots culture. That’s where the largest number of immigrants came from. Thus, they decided that they should also take two days for New Year’s Day.

So…it’s not just a “bank holiday,” then, but everything is closed – stores, theatres, restaurants, etc. – as well?

The term “bank holiday” means by definition that everything (or almost everything) is closed. That’s the standard term in the U.K. and in much of the rest of the British Commonwealth for what in the U.S. is meant by “federal holiday” or “state holiday.”

That used to be the case, but now days, apart from banks and some smaller shops, everything is now open. This is especially true of this particular holiday. The shops are in the middle of their January sales and would not turn down an opportunity to seel to all those people who have taken a day off work.

That again makes bank holidays in the U.K. the equivalent of federal holidays in the U.S. In the U.S., banks, government offices, and most office-type businesses are closed. Many restaurants are closed. On the other hand, many stores are open, as are many restaurants. Movie theaters are open.

I don’t think so. If New Zealand was all that much influenced by Scots culture, than we’d hardly bother with any nativity scenes or special services for Christmas Day – the NZ Presbyterians frowned on such demonstrations of “papism” in the 19th century. It doesn’t look like we had the 2 January day off until well into the 20th century, anyway.

We’re not the only country outside Scotland to have that quirky January 2 day off. If Wikipedia is to be believed: Haiti does (Ancestry Day), Romania does, Serbia and Slovenia spread New Years over the two days, while Taiwan has a bank holiday on 3 January. Personally, I think it’s just there to mirror Boxing Day, and to bolster up our Holiday Acts with regard to employment legislation. Means one heck of a long shutdown, though.

Parts of New Zealand- primarily Dunedin, Otago, and Southland were heavily influenced by Scottish culture. The rest of NZ (with the exceptions of Akaroa [French] and Dannevirke [Scandinavian]) was influenced by English culture, which in turn was locally influenced by Maori culture.

The simplest explanation is that “Everyone likes days off”, I think. :wink:

New Zealanders have told me that New Zealand is heavily influenced by Scots culture. If that isn’t true, that’s only because parts of the country are and parts aren’t greatly influenced by Scots culture. Argue it amongst yourselves, not with me.

Here in Scotland, it really is just to do with how big a deal New Year is. So we get 2nd January as a holiday as well. Because we need it. A lot of shops are open, but banks, offices, post offices etc are all closed, and you’ll pay through the nose if you need a tradesman. Here in Edinburgh, the traffic wardens were, of course, working as usual.

The trade off is usually that we don’t get Easter Monday, but in practice the difference between the whole bank/public holiday system in Scotland compared to England is much, much more complex than that and does cause confusion.

Because 2nd January is a holiday that I have to take, and this year it landed on a Saturday, that meant that Monday 4th January was a mandatory holiday this year, and my office was closed. Caused immense confusion with the English head office wondering why they couldn’t get hold of anyone.

For those that are interested, there are normally eight public holidays in the UK. In England, it’s two days at Christmas, one day at New Year, two at Easter, first and last Mondays in May, last Monday in August.