A holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted. Examples of types of holidays include:
A holiday can also refer to a specific trip or journey for the purposes of recreation or tourism. People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations. Vacations or holidays are often spent with friends or family.
The word "holiday" comes from the Old English word hāligdæg. The word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days off work or school. The word derived from the notion of "Holy Day", and gradually evolved to its current form.
In the United Kingdom, vacation once specifically referred to the long summer break taken by the law courts and, later, universities—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it facilitated the grape harvest. In the past, many upper-class families moved to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant.
Vacation, in English-speaking North America, describes recreational travel, such as a short pleasure trip, or a journey abroad. People in Commonwealth countries also use the phrase, going on leave or going on holiday.
Canadians often use vacation and holiday interchangeably referring to a trip away from home or time off work. In Australia, the term can refer to a vacation or a public holiday.
In most of the English-speaking world, including North America, holiday may refer to a day set aside by a nation or culture (in some cases, multiple nations and cultures) for commemoration, celebration, or other observance. Schools, business, and workplaces often close for holidays.
In Australia all usage of the word holiday means time away from normal employment or school. The meaning is further subdivided into two major sub-categories:
2. A trip or stay away from one's normal home. This is similar to what is described elsewhere as a vacation, but that word is rarely used in Australia.
Days referred to as holidays in other places but which do not involve formally decreed time away from work especially for that day, such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, are not described as holidays in Australia.
Most countries around the world have labor laws that mandate employers give a certain number of paid time-off days per year to workers. Nearly all Canadian provinces require at least two weeks, while in most of Europe the minimum is higher. US Where law does not mandate vacation time, many employers nonetheless offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 work days, to attract employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and U.S. federal wage and hour laws, employers are not required to pay terminating employees for unused vacation time still on the books. On the state level this varies widely among the 50 states and District of Columbia. 21 states require payouts for terminating employees. These include California, Maine and Wyoming. Other states rely on the wording of the employer's vacation policy to enforce payment. These include Maryland, Minnesota and North Carolina. If the company vacation policy states that vacation will be lost upon termination, the state will not consider the vacation hours as wages. Still other states do not even address the issue. These include Alabama and Mississippi. Kansas and Kentucky rely on the outcome of court cases to determine vacation payout. And Massachusetts, as the result of a recent court case (Electronic Data Sys. Corp. v. Attorney General,Mass. No. JC-0260, 6/11/09) now requires involuntarily separated employees to be paid unused vacation but did not apply the ruling to employees who terminate voluntarily. Additionally, most American employers provide paid days off for national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.
While US federal and most state law provides for leave such as medical leave, there are movements attempting to remove vacation time as a factor in the free-market labor pool by requiring mandatory vacation time.
Countries (such as the United Kingdom and Denmark) or particular companies may mandate summer holidays in specific periods. These present issues to parents planning vacations, since holiday companies charge higher prices, and parents have an incentive to use their work vacation time in term time.
Consecutive holidays refers to holidays that occur in a group without working days in between. In the late 1990s, the Japanese government passed a law that increased the likelihood of consecutive holidays by moving holidays from fixed days to a relative position in a month, such as the second Monday.
Many holidays are linked to faiths and religions (see etymology above). Christian holidays are defined as part of the liturgical year. The Catholic patronal feast day or 'name day' are celebrated in each place's patron saint's day, according to the Calendar of saints. In Islam, the largest holidays are Eid ul-Fitr (immediately after Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (at the end of the Hajj). Hindus, Jains and Sikhs observe several holidays, one of the largest being Diwali (Festival of Light). Japanese holidays contain references to several different faiths and beliefs. Celtic, Norse, and Neopagan holidays follow the order of the Wheel of the Year. Some are closely linked to Swedish festivities. The Bahá'í Faith observes holidays as defined by the Bahá'í 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).
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere features many holidays that involve festivals and feasts. The Christmas and holiday season surrounds the winter solstice and Christmas, 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 is, somewhat, a commercial term that applies, in the US, 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, Australians celebrate Australia Day.
Several secular holidays are observed, such as Earth Day or Labour Day, both internationally, and across multi-country regions, often in conjunction with organizations such as the United Nations. Many other days are marked to celebrate events or people, but are not strictly holidays as time off work is rarely given.
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 celebrated on December 14, and International Talk Like a Pirate Day observed on September 19.
Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate holidays, including Christmas, Halloween, and Easter, because they believe holidays are pagan. They also reject national holidays as well, because they believe that, by celebrating these holidays, they are giving honor to man's governments and not God's Kingdom.
HOLIDAY, originally the "holy day," a festival set apart for religious observances as a memorial of some sacred event or sacred person; hence a day on which the ordinary work or business ceases. For the religious sense see Feasts And Festivals, and Sunday. Apart from the use of the term for a single day of rest or enjoyment, it is commonly used in the plural for a recognized and regular period (as at schools, &c.) of absence from work. It is unnecessary here to deal with what may be regarded as private holidays, which are matters of agreement between employer and employed or between the authorities of this or that institution and those who attend it. In recent years there has been a notable tendency in most occupations to shorten the hours of labour, and make holidays more regular. It will suffice to deal here with public holidays, the observance of which is prescribed by the state. In one respect these have been diminished, in so far as saints' days are no longer regarded as entailing non-attendance at the government offices in England, as was the case at the beginning of the 19th century. But while the influence of religion in determining such holidays has waned, the importance of making some compulsory provision for social recreation has made itself felt. In England four days, known as Bank Holidays, are set apart by statute to be observed as general holidays, while the sovereign may by proclamation appoint any day to be similarly observed. Endeavours have been made from time to time to get additional days recognized as general holidays, such as Empire Day (May 24th), Arbor Day, &c. In the British colonies there is no uniform practice. In Canada eight days are generally observed as public holidays: New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, the birthday of the sovereign, Victoria Day, Dominion Day and Labour Day. Some of the provinces have followed the American example by adding an Arbor Day. Alberta and Saskatchewan observe Ash Wednesday. In Quebec, where the majority of the population is Roman Catholic, the holy days are also holidays, namely, the Festival of the Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, the Ascension, All Saint's Day, Conception Day, Christmas Day. In 1897 Labour Day was added. In New South Wales, the 1st of January, Good Friday, Easter Eve, Easter Monday, the birthday of the sovereign, the 1st of August, the birthday of the prince of Wales, Christmas Day and the 26th of December, are observed as holidays. In Victoria there are thirteen public holidays during the year, and in Queensland fourteen. In New Zealand the public holidays are confined to four, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday and Labour Day. In most of the other British colonies the usual number of public holidays is from six to eight.
In the United States there is no legal holiday in the sense of the English bank holidays. A legal holiday is dependent upon state and territorial legislation. It is usual for the president to proclaim the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving; this makes it only a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, and in the territories, but most states make it a general holiday. Independence Day (July 4th) and Labour Day (first Monday in September) are legal holidays in most states. There are other days which, in connexion with particular events or in remembrance of particular persons, have been made legal holidays by particular states. For example, Lincoln's birthday, Washington's birthday, Memorial Day (May 30th), Patriots' Day (April 19th, Maine and Mass.), R. E. Lee's birthday (Jan. 19th, Ala., Fla., Ga., Va.), Pioneers' Day (July 2 4 th, Utah), Colorado Day (Aug. 1st), Battle of New Orleans (Jan. 8th, La.), Bennington Battle Day (Aug. r6th, Vt.), Defenders's Day (Sept. 12th, Md.), Arbor Day (April 2 2nd, Nebraska; second Friday in May R.I., &c.), Admission Day (September 9th, Cal.; Oct. 31st, Nev.), Confederate Memorial Day (April 26th, Ala., Fla., Ga., Miss., May loth, N. & S. Car., June 3rd, La., Miss., Texas), &c.
See M c Curdy, Bibliography of Articles relating to Holidays (Boston, 1905). (T. A. I.)
A holiday is a special day. The word "holiday" comes from the words "holy" and "day" and originally meant a special religious day.
During holidays, people can do many things. They can travel to other places (called a "vacation" in North America) or celebrate. Sometimes on holidays people do not have to go to school or the office.
In the order of the Wheel of the Year:
Catholics also celebrate saint's days.