August is named after Emperor Augustus, the first Roman emperor, as this is the month when he had some of his greatest triumphs. It’s the last month of summer in England and it can be as hot as July or sometimes even hotter, although it varies from year to year.
All the schools and universities are closed so a lot of people go away for a holiday in August, especially families with children. A lot of English people like to travel abroad for guaranteed sun. It’s also quite common to go to the seaside somewhere in the UK. This means that it’s the most expensive time to travel and tourist destinations are crowded. At the time of writing this, holidays abroad are more difficult, of course, because of COVID-19.
August is an important month for two groups of people as this is when they get their exam results, after two months of waiting. 18-year olds get their A level* results in the middle of the month and this can affect which university they end up going to. They usually need good results to get a place at their first choice of university. A week later, 16-year-olds get their GCSE* results. These usually have less impact on a young person’s future but they may need good grades to enter a new school or a college.
The last Monday in August is a national holiday, also called a bank holiday. A lot of special events take place around the country during this long weekend, the most famous of which is the Notting Hill Carnival. This is a celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture. Notting Hill is an area of London and there is a parade through the streets with people dancing, playing music and wearing colourful costumes. There are also many stalls selling Caribbean food. Over a million visitors go to see the carnival every year.
* A levels = Advanced level exams
GCSE = General Certificate of Secondary Education
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