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The wakes week (or Wakes Week for specific usage) is a holiday period in parts of England and Scotland.

Wakes were originally religious festivals that commemorated church dedications. During the Industrial Revolution the tradition of the wakes was adapted into a regular summer break in the mill towns of Lancashire, where each locality would nominate a Wakes Week during which the cotton mills would all close at the same time. This week then became the focus for fairs, and eventually for holidays where the workers would go to the seaside, traditionally Blackpool, eventually on the newly developed railways.

The tradition still exists in many parts of Lancashire, although its significance has declined in recent decades. It was commonplace for schools in Lancashire to allocate a one week holiday coinciding with wakes week in lieu of holiday time elsewhere in the year - typically the May half term holiday or the end of the summer holiday in August. Schools in Lancashire and Cheshire began to discontinue the wakes week holiday after the introduction of the National Curriculum and the standardisation of school holidays across England, and it rarely exists nowadays[1].

References

  1. ^ "Final Wakes Week marks end of an era" Craven Herald & Pioneer article

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