What Every Person Ought to Know About Holidays
A holiday is a period set aside by law or custom whereby normal daily activities, particularly work or school including church, are either suspended or significantly reduced. In most cases, such holidays are meant to let people to celebrate or commemorate some historical or cultural event or belief of personal or collective importance. Holidays are also associated with different social categories like annual holidays, statutory holidays, public holidays, etc. The earliest use of the term holiday comes from the Roman period in the second century BC. The first records of a holiday being celebrated were for the return of the kings from their campaigns. In those times, each region had its own name for a festival and people took a leave from their everyday routine to go to that particular place and celebrate the festival there.
In spite of being termed as a holiday, the meaning of the term varies from place to place. For instance in the United Kingdom, Holidays are generally referred to as England’s national holidays. On British National Holidays, people were free to go on state exercises, spend public money on food and drink, and participate actively in various community activities. On Non-Working Day, British citizens were allowed to remain in their homes and enjoy certain domestic amenities. The government also provides local authorities with funding for running public services during these national holidays.
In Canada, where the days are generally cooler and the weather remains dry, there are many traditional festivals celebrating things such as the harvest, thanks giving, and of course Canada’s national holidays. In general, however, Canada has four major holidays; Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Easter. On Christmas, houses are lighted and parties are held indoors; on New Year’s Eve Canada’s three main international music stars open their concerts in Toronto, and on Thanksgiving, families gather at a dinner table outside.
In some parts of the United States, and in particular on the Eastern seaboard, public holidays are regarded as occasions of social peace and good cheer. The history of public holidays in the United States is closely tied to the history of the nation itself. On the early colonial period, the colonists were accustomed to celebrating feast days with great feasts and barbecues, and they began to develop the traditions of public feasts and picnics. As these early settlers continued their travels and spread out over more of the country, the American holiday became known as Thanksgiving. This name was given to the holiday because of the great harvest that was gathered in the months of November and December, and it was common for Native Americans to gather near a small spring in the morning and celebrate a feast of corn and nuts, along with dancing and songs.
In addition to the traditional religious holidays, the United States has developed a wide range of non-traditional ones. These include family holidays, including Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day; national holidays, such as Memorial Day and Flag Day; cultural holidays, such as Halloween and Hanukkah; sports-related holidays, such as Father’s Day and Easter; and educational holidays, such as T-day and National Teacher Appreciation Day. Many of the above-mentioned holidays have become nearly as established as the traditional ones, and each has its own unique history and customs. In recent years, however, many other kinds of holidays have begun to become popular, and these holidays include outdoor and indoor activities as well as various types of cookouts and parties. There are also now days when people choose to not celebrate one particular holiday, but to instead observe a string of holidays that are grouped together in what is referred to collectively as a “holidays” season.
Some of the most common types of holidays observed around the world are Christmas, which is followed by a flurry of shopping, decorating, cooking, and feasting; New Year’s, which features a massive fireworks display; Valentine’s Day, which traditionally includes romantic dinners and gifts; and the Bank Holiday, which is the last day of the year for pay-checks to be issued. In the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland, the Passover holiday is one that honors the Israelites who were freed by the Pharaoh as a punishment for their non-payment of the high arrears of the tithe, which the Pharaoh imposed on them as he was repaying the Israelites for their services in his war against the Egyptians. This also marks the beginning of the Lenten season. The United Kingdom also has a national holiday which commemorates St. Patrick, who was said to have come from Ireland. The first recorded celebration of St. Patrick’s day in Ireland took place during the tenth century, and began the tradition of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day throughout the rest of the world.