When I worked, many of my suppliers were European companies. I remember being annoyed every time August came around because these companies would suddenly shut shop and leave their clients unsupported. I never understood how valuable the August holiday was to Europeans until I lived in Europe myself.
In Italy, we celebrate Ferragosto on 15th August.
"First proclaimed by the Emperor Augustus in 18 BC, the feriae Augusti originally lasted for most of August and was a time to rest after the hard work of the summer harvest" (www.italymagazine.com). Over time it developed into the one-day celebration of today.
After months of tending vegetable plants, picking fruit, and making jams, relishes and sauces I can well understand the need to "rest after the hard work of the summer harvest"...