I recently controlled at Birmingham (EGBB) with heavy inbound and outbound traffic. To allow some space for departing aircraft I started 2 separate holding patterns. Some people seemed to be pretty confused, and with the feedback I have heard, I am not sure everyone knows what a holding pattern is.
A holding pattern is something the ATC uses to hold aircraft until it can get its final vectors to the runway.
Look at the image above, the line indicates where the aircraft was held until it was its time to get vectored to land.
If a controller vectors you away from the airport, but you are still following other aircraft, or other aircraft are following you, you are in a holding pattern. Please do help out other pilots and keep and even space and speed.
Any questions please ask below!