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In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the summer bank holiday is on the last Monday of August. In Scotland it is on the first Monday of August. This day marks the end of the summer holidays for many people who return to work or school in the autumn.
For many people, the summer bank holiday marks the end of the summer. Some people take trips or short vacations during the three day weekend. For others, it is another opportunity to work in their gardens or carry out home improvements.
In London the Notting Hill Carnival is held. This street festival is best known for its exuberant costumes, dancing and music played by steel drum bands. The festival has been held every year since 1965 and was originally organized by immigrants from the Caribbean, particularly Trinidad, to the United Kingdom. It started as a protest against the racism, poor working and housing conditions that they suffered.
Today, the Notting Hill Carnival is a multicultural celebration, attracting over two million people. It is thought to be the second largest street carnival in the world. In the past, a considerable amount of public disorder occurred round the event, but it has been calmer in recent years.
On the summer bank holiday, many organizations, businesses and schools are closed. Stores may be open or closed, according to local custom. There is more local variation in Scotland, where local conditions, rather than national laws, dictate whether organizations and businesses close for the day. Public transport systems often run to a holiday timetable. As this three-day weekend marks the end of the summer holiday period, there can be a lot of congestion on roads and public transport systems.
The summer bank holiday was introduced in the Bank Holidays Act 1871 and first observed in that year. It was originally intended to give bank employees the opportunity to participate and attend cricket matches. Exactly one hundred years later, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 moved this bank holiday to the last Monday in August for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This followed a trial period from 1965 to 1970 of the new date. In Scotland, it remained on the first Monday in August.