According to Statista research, the proportion of Europeans planning a summer vacation increased dramatically in 2022 compared to the previous year. Overall, 71% of polled Europeans planned to take a summer vacation in 2022, whereas 57% planned to do so in 2021.
A significant rebound in employee intention to travel is not surprising. Thanks to Covid, Europeans couldn’t go on their usual overseas holiday due to strict confinement rules and uncertainty surrounding travelling.
But this summer, vacations are back in full swing! Even individuals who work from home are on the search for a vacation getaway. Above all, whether you work remotely or in the office, taking a break is necessary to recharge your batteries, sharpen your focus, and come back with fresh ideas.
So, in this article, we decided to take a deep dive and explore different summer holiday traditions across Europe.
When do people go on annual leave in Sweden? Spain? Or the UK? Do Europeans get similar annual leave entitlement throughout the continent? Are there any special celebrations marking the holiday season?
We cover these questions and more below.
The Great British Summer Holidays
Summer holidays in the UK have deep traditions. Brits celebrated saints in the middle-ages, which continued into the Industrial Revolution era. However, up until the 1930s, going abroad in the summer was a privilege reserved for the wealthy. Many ordinary employees could not afford to take a week’s holiday.
In 1939, the parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Holidays with Pay Pact, which allowed working-class employees to take paid leave. This laid the foundation for the British summer holidays that the country enjoys today.
Nowadays, people in Great Britain who work full time get on average 4-5 weeks of annual leave, which they usually spread out throughout the year.
However, it’s common to take 1 or 2 weeks of summer holidays in July and August when children are off school. People tend to head down to the beach resorts and visit foreign countries, such as Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, or Greece.
Sweden’s Midsummer Festival
Swedes take their summer holiday traditions seriously. They actually have the so-called ‘Midsommarstång’ festival, which was initially celebrated on the 24th of June, but now is observed on Friday between the 19th and 25th of June.
Swedish people gather with their family and friends during this festival to enjoy a picnic, dance, and play games. This not only marks the start of the summer solstice but also is the time when many workers go on leave.
Interestingly, Swedish employees must take at least four weeks off over the summer (from June to August), with July being the most popular month when the whole country comes to a halt.
Spain’s Summer Festivities
When it comes to observing midsummer in Spain, bonfires and firework displays are popular, and specific beacons are lighted ritualistically around the country’s many regions.
Spain has a rather generous annual leave entitlement, typically around 30 days for a full-time employee. Workers can split their holidays; however, the law requires at least one vacation period must be two weeks long. And, it’s still widespread for employers to expect Spaniards to take these two weeks in August.
French Summer Holiday Traditions
Similar to the UK, France didn’t have summer holidays in the Middle Ages. Between the Midsummer celebration and St. Michael’s day in late September, peasants were busy working in the fields.
Nowadays, the French typically take holidays between the 14th of July (The Bastille Day) and mid-August when they head to beach resorts or enjoy many festivals happening throughout the country.
Finland Is All About Work-life Balance
Finish workers enjoy an extended summer break every year, from mid-June to the beginning of August. Due to cold winters, Finish society tends to make the most of the summer period, especially because children are also enjoying a long summer break from school.
However, recently there have been discussions about the extended summer holidays, with experts debating whether such a long break is good for the country’s economy and workers’ productivity. It seems that everyone sticks an out-of-office message and disappears for two months!
Regional Summer Holiday Variations in Germany
Germany ranks among the top 5 countries for the most paid vacation days per year. On top of that, the country has numerous public holidays, with southern regions enjoying additional days attached to religious celebrations.
The peak vacation season in Germany is mainly dictated by the six-week summer school break, which varies by region. However, most workers seem to go on holiday in July and August. Just like Brits, Germans prefer to spend their holidays in a warmer climate; thus, destinations such as Spain, Italy, and Turkey are among the top choices.
Workation Is on the Rise
It seems that workers throughout Europe and worldwide are turning to workation as a new way to prolong their vacation time. The rising trend is particularly popular among millennials who seek to spend their downtime exploring new destinations and learning about new cultures.
But this comes as no surprise, as more and more workers desire to be location-independent. However, it remains to be seen whether the workation has the same benefits as the full-blown holidays.
The Bottom Line
The summer holiday concept, albeit slightly different in each country, generally indicates that Europeans enjoy and value their summer vacations.
Above all, taking some time off is crucial to our ability to sustain productivity, improve focus and maintain a positive work-life balance.
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