Aviva Directory » People & Daily Life » Holidays & Celebrations

Holidays are special days set aside for the celebration, commemoration, or observance of various things.

Originally, holidays were religious observances. The word itself comes from the Old English word hāligdæg, which meant "holy day." Holidays referred only to special religious days in the Christian calendar, such as Christmas and Easter. The word evolved into haliday in medieval times to its current spelling in the 1500s.

Today, the word has different meanings and associations in different parts of the world, and it incorporates religions other than the Christian religion.

Some holidays are religious, some are cultural, others historical, political, or just for fun. While not necessarily recognized as public holidays, other days have been set aside for various reasons, including commercial.

I haven't checked to be sure, but I think it's safe to say that every day of the year has something attributed to it.

Some holidays are neither holy nor a day, as there are week-long or month-long celebrations, many of which more than ninety percent of the population are unaware of.

Some of the most popular holidays are Christmas, Easter, New Year's Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. However, the date of his birth is not stated in the Bible or any historical sources, and the date of December 25 was first asserted by Pope Julius I in 350 AD and seemingly has no historical basis. In many countries, Christmas is celebrated as a cultural, secular, and commercial holiday that involves decorating a tree, exchanging gifts, singing carols, and telling children about Santa Claus.

Easter is another Christian holiday. It commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day following his crucifixion. As a cultural, secular, and commercial holiday, it involves the Easter Bunny, eggs, and flowers.

New Year's Day is the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, used in most parts of the world. It is a time to celebrate the past year and make resolutions for the new one. It is characterized by fireworks, parties, and countdowns to midnight.

Halloween is a primarily secular holiday with vague religious undertones. It originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. It is celebrated on October 31st by dressing up in costumes, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into faces, and watching horror movies.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States and Canada that celebrates the harvest. Characterized by a family feast that involves turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, it is observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

There are several other holidays observed by people around the world, such as the Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and others, each with its history, meaning, and traditions.

Public holidays are set aside by public authorities and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Religious organizations set religious holidays and are often observed as public holidays in countries where one religion has a majority. Many religious holidays have become secularized by many of those who observe them and commercialized by industries that profit from them.

In recent years, it has become common for governments to commemorate a range of social and political issues, usually due to lobbying from special interest groups. For example, International Women's Day celebrates the achievements of women on March 8, while Earth Day is a time to demonstrate support for environmental action on April 22, and Indigenous Peoples' Day has replaced Columbus Day on the second Monday in October.

Other days have been set aside as Congressional pronouncements due to lobbying by commercial interests, such as National Spaghetti Day on January 4, and National Grilled Cheese Day on April 12. However, people are unlikely to be aware of these holidays unless they see an advertisement or hear a talking head mentioning it on television. Restaurants might use the designation to promote a spaghetti or grilled cheese dish on these days, but no one is getting the day off from work.

There are also unofficial holidays that are not marked on most calendars, but which may be celebrated by various individuals and groups. Some of these promote a cause, others recognize historical events not officially recognized, and others are more of a joke than anything else. These include April Fools Day on April 1, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19.

Whatever the occasion, holidays and celebrations are the focus of this portion of our web guide, whether or not they are included as a subcategory here.


Administrative Professionals Day


Anzac Day

April Fool's Day

Armed Forces Day

Australia Day

Bastille Day


Black History Month

Boxing Day

Burns Night

Canada Day


Chinese New Year



Earth Day


Flag Day

Fourth of July

Grandparents Day

Guy Fawkes Day


Labor Day

Memorial Day

Mother's Day


Rosh Hashanah


Veteran's Day

Yom Kippur



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