So What is a Holiday?

Presland’s Fair came every year for the first Saturday in July, for the Flower and Produce Show in Carter’s Meadow.  The fair, the plants, the flower arrangements, the biggest beans, the certificates and the rosettes were all part of the day out.  A good chat too with friends and neighbours and people you only saw once a year.  A cup of tea or a pint round the corner might end the day, unless you wanted to ride the chairoplanes into the night.

Not so long ago that’s what a holiday was.  A day when the community celebrated.  Most people didn’t get away.  Indeed there were some who only ever travelled to town and back occasionally on the bus and a few who never left the village in their whole life.  Going away on holiday would never have crossed their mind – or suited their purses.

Holidays started, of course, as religious celebrations.  Holy Days celebrating not only the church’s major festivals, but also the patron saint of your church.  They began with a vigil – ‘keeping awake’ – and the fun and games came afterwards. The fairs and dancing, pancake races and cheese rolling, these gradually became the main activities.

A change, a break in our daily rhythm can help to renew and restore us, to help us feel whole again, more complete, more connected – Holy, if you like. Rose Queen crownings and celebrations. Sunday School outings to the seaside. Wakes Week trips to Blackpool to breathe in the sea air and have fun. 

So, gradually, days out with people from our community, became a week’s stay.  Blackpool became Benidorm, Tenby became Thailand and a row on the boating lake has become a cruise. 

So whatever your holiday has become, I wish you well. Whether at home or abroad, sunbathing or snoozing, with family, friends or strangers, may your holiday be holy and restore you to yourself.

Chris Dawson

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