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The municipal year is a period used by local government in the United Kingdom. It starts in early May . It is not a fixed date so the number of days in any municipal year varies. It is the space of time between one round of local elections to the next. For most English councils, an unelected Mayor will take up their ceremonial office for a period of one municipal year only, though they may be re-appointed after an interval. In addition to dictating mayoral terms of office, the period is also used as a basis for many councils' scrutiny and accountability arrangements.
A few areas have opted by referendum to have directly elected Mayors, though they still tend to use the May–May municipal year as a convenient method of strategic planning. The municipal year has been in use as a concept since at least 1555, and has also been used – very occasionally – by town councils in the United States, though much less so now.
Historically, in some English council areas[where?], the beginning of a new municipal year took place in November[why?], and was a traditional time for celebration and festivities. In Newcastle-under-Lyme in the 19th century, the election was known as Mayor-choosing day, or clouting-out day, and was – according to one contemporary source, "the very Saturnalia of play." Large-scale street games were played by children (imprisonment and subsequent rescue, or "clouting out", with knotted ropes, of young people was the source of the name), and the free distribution of apples and penny coins were also customs. In the Irish city of Galway, in the Middle Ages, the newly appointed or -elected officers would, by convention, provide an enormous feast for the town's "more distinguished citizens", while others took to the streets and made merry.
See also 
- Local government in the United Kingdom
- Local government in England
- Local government in Scotland
- Local government in Wales
- Local government in Northern Ireland
- Academic year
- Fiscal year
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