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A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by governments, religious institutions, or other groups or organizations. The degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, customs, the type of job held or personal choices.
The concept of holidays often originated in connection with religious observances. The intention of a holiday was typically to allow individuals to tend to religious duties associated with important dates on the calendar. In most modern societies, however, holidays serve as much of a recreational function as any other weekend days or activities.
In many societies there are important distinctions between holidays designated by governments and holidays designated by religious institutions. For example, in many predominantly Christian nations, government-designed holidays may center on Christian holidays, though non-Christians may instead observe religious holidays associated with their faith. In some cases, a holiday may only be nominally observed. For example, many Jews in the Americas and Europe treat the relatively minor Jewish holiday of Hanukkah as a "working holiday", changing very little of their daily routines for this day.
The word holiday has differing connotations in different regions. In the United States the word is used exclusively to refer to the nationally, religiously or culturally observed day(s) of rest or celebration, or the events themselves, whereas in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations, the word may refer to the period of time where leave from one's duties has been agreed, and is used as a synonym to the US preferred vacation . This time is usually set aside for rest, travel or the participation in recreational activities, with entire industries targeted to coincide or enhance these experiences. The days of leave may not coincide with any specific customs or laws. Employers and educational institutes may designate ‘holidays’ themselves which may or may not overlap nationally or culturally relevant dates, which again comes under this connotation, but it is the first implication detailed that this article is concerned with.
The word holiday comes from the Old English word hāligdæg (hālig "holy" + dæg "day").The word originally referred only to special religious days. The modern use varies geographically. In North America, it means any dedicated day or period of celebration. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, holiday is often used instead of the word vacation.
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere features many holidays that involve festivals and feasts. The Christmas and holiday season surrounds the Christmas and other holidays, and is celebrated by many religions and cultures. Usually, this period begins near the start of November and ends with New Year's Day. Holiday season in the US corresponds to the period that begins with Thanksgiving and ends with New Year's Eve. Some Christian countries consider the end of the festive season to be after the feast of Epiphany.
Sovereign nations and territories observe holidays based on events of significance to their history. For example, the American Independence Day celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Other secular (non-religious) holidays are observed nationally, internationally (often in conjunction with organizations such as the United Nations), and across multi-country regions. The United Nations Calendar of Observancesdedicates decades to a specific topic, but also a complete year, month, week and days. Holidays dedicated to an observance such as the commemoration of the ending of World War II, or the Shoah, can also be part of the reparation obligation as per UN General Assembly Resolution 60/147 Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.
Another example of a major secular holiday is the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated across East Asia and South East Asia. Many other days are marked to celebrate events or people, but are not strictly holidays as time off work is rarely given; examples include Arbor Day (originally U.S.), Labor Day (celebrated sometimes under different names and on different days in different countries), and Earth Day (22 April).
These are holidays that are not traditionally marked on calendars. These holidays are celebrated by various groups and individuals. Some promote a cause, others recognize historical events not officially recognized, and others are "funny" holidays celebrated with humorous intent. For example, Monkey Day is celebrated on December 14, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is observed on September 19, and Blasphemy Day is held on September 30. Other examples are April Fools' Day on April 1 and World No Tobacco Day on May 31. Various community organizers and marketers promote odd social media holidays.
Many holidays are linked to faiths and religions (see etymology above). Christian holidays are defined as part of the liturgical year, the chief ones being Easter and Christmas. The Orthodox Christian and Western-Roman Catholic patronal feast day or "name day" are celebrated in each place's patron saint's day, according to the Calendar of saints. Jehovah's Witnesses annually commemorate "The Memorial of Jesus Christ's Death", but do not celebrate other holidays with any religious significance such as Easter, Christmas or New Year's. This holds especially true for those holidays that have combined and absorbed rituals, overtones or practices from non-Christian beliefs into the celebration, as well as those holidays that distract from or replace the worship of Jehovah.In Islam, the largest holidays are Eid al-Fitr (immediately after Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (at the end of the Hajj). Ahmadi Muslims additionally celebrate Promised Messiah Day, Promised Reformer Day, and Khilafat Day, but contrary to popular belief, neither are regarded as holidays. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs observe several holidays, one of the largest being Diwali (Festival of Light). Japanese holidays as well as few Catholic holidays contain heavy references to several different faiths and beliefs. Celtic, Norse, and Neopagan holidays follow the order of the Wheel of the Year. For example, Christmas ideas like decorating trees and colors (green, red, and white) have very similar ideas to modern Wicca (a modern Pagan belief) Yule which is a lesser Sabbat of the wheel of the year. Some are closely linked to Swedish festivities. The Baháʼí Faith observes 11 annual holidays on dates determined using the Baháʼí calendar. Jews have two holiday seasons: the Spring Feasts of Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Weeks, called Pentecost in Greek); and the Fall Feasts of Rosh Hashanah (Head of the Year), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Tabernacles), and Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Assembly).
If a holiday coincides with another holiday or a weekend day a substitute holiday may be recognised in lieu. In the United Kingdom the government website states that "If a bank holiday is on a weekend, a 'substitute' weekday becomes a bank holiday, normally the following Monday.", and the list of bank holidays for the year 2020 includes Monday 28 December as "Boxing Day (substitute day)", as 26 December is a Saturday.The process of moving a holiday from a weekend day to the following Monday is known as Mondayisation in New Zealand.
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.
New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner. In the Gregorian calendar, the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1. This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and the Roman calendar.
The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read either in an annual cycle or in a cycle of several years.
A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year or lunar calendar.
New Year's Day, also simply called New Year or New Year's is observed on 1 January, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. Whilst most solar calendars begin the year regularly at or near the northern winter solstice, the start of the new year in cultures that observe a lunisolar or lunar calendar happen at less fixed points relative to the solar year.
The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In some Western ecclesiastical traditions, "Christmas Day" is considered the "First Day of Christmas" and the Twelve Days are 25 December to 5 January, inclusive, with 6 January being a "thirteenth day" in some traditions and languages. However, 6 January is most often considered Twelfth Day/Twelfth Night with the Twelve Days "of" Christmas actually after Christmas Day from 26 December to 6 January. For many Christian denominations—for example, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church—the Twelve Days are identical to Christmastide, but for others, e.g., the Roman Catholic Church, Christmastide lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who provide 62% of the total U.S. population with paid time off.
Public holidays in India, also known as statutory holidays, consist of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in India at the union or state levels. While many of these holidays are honoured and acknowledged nationwide, State legislation varies in regard to which are officially recognized.
Christmastide is a season of the liturgical year in most Christian churches. In some Christian denominations, Christmastide is identical to Twelvetide, a similar concept.
Public holidays in Malaysia are regulated at both federal and state levels, mainly based on a list of federal holidays observed nationwide plus a few additional holidays observed by each individual state and federal territory. The public holidays are a mix of secular holidays celebrating the nation and its history, and selected traditional holidays of the various ethnic and religious groups that make up the country.
Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December. For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular.
"Octave" has two senses in Christian liturgical usage. In the first sense, it is the eighth day after a feast, reckoning inclusively, and so always falls on the same day of the week as the feast itself. The word is derived from Latin octava (eighth), with dies (day) understood. In the second sense, the term is applied to the whole period of these eight days, during which certain major feasts came to be observed.
The Hebrew Roots movement is a Christian Evangelical religious movement that advocates the return to adherence to the Torah.
Public holidays in Botswana are largely controlled by government sector employers who are given paid time off. The government holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve are common additions to the list of paid holidays.
The Feast of the Annunciation, contemporarily the Solemnity of the Annunciation, and also called Lady Day, the Feast of the Incarnation, or Conceptio Christi, commemorates the visit of the archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is celebrated on 25 March each year. In the Roman Catholic Church, when 25 March falls during the Paschal Triduum, it is transferred forward to the first suitable day during Eastertide. In Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism, it is never transferred, even if it falls on Pascha (Easter). The concurrence of these two feasts is called Kyriopascha.
In Abrahamic religions, the Sabbath or Shabbat is a day set aside for rest and worship. According to the Book of Exodus, the Sabbath is a day of rest on the seventh day, commanded by God to be kept as a holy day of rest, as God rested from creation. The practice of observing the Sabbath (Shabbat) originates in the biblical commandment "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy".
Lists of holidays by various categorizations.
A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person, or figuratively of an institution. Birthdays of people are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with birthday gifts, birthday cards, a birthday party, or a rite of passage.
Christian observances of Jewish holidays is a practice evidenced since the time of Christ. Specific practices vary among denominations: these holidays may be honored in their original form in recognition of Christianity's Jewish roots, or altered to suit Christian theology. Symbolic and thematic features of Jewish services are commonly interpreted in a Christian light: for example, the Paschal Lamb of the Passover Seder being viewed as a symbol of Christ's sacrifice.