Posted on August 26 2016
Holidays, always the perfect time to bond with friends and family; have you ever wondered which holidays do families around the world celebrate the most? With the diversity of cultures and beliefs around the world, it is just interesting to discover more. Here is a brief list of fun holidays that brings friends and families closer together.
14 Holidays to Getting Together with Friends and Family
Date: (Dec 25)
Christmas is one of the most fun and widely celebrated Christian holidays in the world. It is the day when Jesus was born. It is always celebrated on the 25th of December. Many nations consider it is an official and civil holiday. Each year, an increasing number of non-Christians and non-religious people celebrate the day because of the fun vibe it brings to everyone. On this day, families and friends share presents, sing carols, decorate Christmas trees, and enjoy lots of good food in every home. There is always a Christmas dinner, also popularly known as Noche Buena. Of course, every family and nation have their own variations of food in Noche Buena that features authentic food.
Date: between late November to late December
This holiday is also known as ‘festival of lights’. Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. It lasts for 8 days. It is dedicated to commemorating the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom and success in the rebellion against Greeks. The first day of Hanukkah is celebrated in different events. It is simply a perfect time for friends and family to go to events and enjoy free doughnuts, listen to live music, and have fun in playing traditional games. Foods prepared in this celebration are usually fried in olive oil: potato cakes, fried bread, sufganiyot (Hanukkah donuts), potato latkes (pancakes), mandelbrot (this can be sliced like a hard bread), and rugelach (pastry that with different fillings). The first day of Hanukkah also starts with games using a four-sided toy called dreidel. Additionally, the evenings are filled with family gift giving and traditional singing.
Date: January 1
New Year is probably one of the most celebrated national holidays in the world. In fact, it is the oldest celebrated holiday. The celebration began 4000 years ago in Babylon. However, it was not on January 1st. The Babylonians celebrated New Year’s Eve during the New Moon.
Today, many nations around the world celebrate New Year following the Gregorian calendar. It has become a traditional celebration where families and friends gather and have fun together at the midnight of December 31. They wish each and everyone a prosperous New Year ahead. Most people also come up with their own list of New Year’s Resolution where they promise to break a bad habit or set a specific goal for themselves. Some countries welcome the New Year with simple gatherings and feasts at home. Others welcome the New Year with fireworks displays.
Date: between late January or early February
The celebration of Basant varies each year. According to the Punjabi calendar, Basant must be held on the 5th day of the lunar month of Magha which is also marking the start of spring. Basant (Vasanta) is one of the six seasons corresponding to spring. Basant is the most auspicious festival celebrated in the different state of India, Nepal, and Pakistan. On this national holiday, the fun begins when friends and families gather together to enjoy a kite festival. The holiday allows them to celebrate and feel the purity of the spring season.
Date: 4th Thursday of November
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the US which is held on the 4th Thursday of November. Many Americans take a time off from work on Friday too to have a long weekend vacation. The holiday started in 1621 when Puritans came to Massachusetts. In the beginning, many of their kind died after a rough winter of no food. They have been taught by Indian Americans on how to plant crops. Ever since they learned, they have always held a feast to give thanks for their bountiful harvest. Today, Thanksgiving has been a traditional holiday for Americans not only because of the prosperity they achieved but also because of the sacrifices the Puritan Pilgrims have made to achieve their freedom. On this day, the fun begins when the family and friends gather for Thanksgiving dinner which is filled with palatable food: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, pumpkin pie and more.
Date: July 5
Eid al-Fitr is a national holiday that marks the end of the month-long fast of Ramadan. It is widely celebrated around the world by the Muslim community. On this day, each community organizes a celebration or feast for different families to enjoy. People not allowed doing fasting on this day. This Eid shows the world how Muslims can achieve a common goal of unity.
Date: September 10
It is another important Muslim national holiday that is celebrated worldwide. On this day, the Muslim families honor the willingness of the prophet ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God’s command and his son’s acceptance to being sacrificed. This holiday is celebrated on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic lunar calendar. It lasts for four days. Families usually get a goat or sheep. It symbolizes their sacrifice. It is cooked as a communal meal for the celebration.
Date: November 30
Diwali (Deepavali) is also known as the ‘festival of lights’. Different religious communities celebrate this national holiday: Hindu, Sikh, and Jain. It is an official five-day holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali celebrations fall between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus. The fun begins when families perform traditional activities together in their homes. Parties are also held in streets featuring traditional food, music, craft, and dance. This celebration would be incomplete without the magnificent light displays: lights, lanterns, candles and fireworks
Date: May 1
Labour Day is also known as International Worker’s Day or May Day. It is celebrated differently around the world. Of course, it is typically a paid time off from work. In fact some countries like Kenya, Brazil would typically adjust the minimum wage on this day. In many nations, families, and friends enjoy going to festivals, parades, parties, sports events, and cookouts.
Date: December 26
All English speaking nations, except the US, celebrate Boxing Day. These countries include Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is also celebrated in parts of South Africa and Europe. Some historians would say that the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day. On the next day, they prepare to go home to their families and their employers would always give them gift boxes. On this day, families can enjoy watching pantomimes, plays, variety shows, and exhibitions. They can also watch sports events like football matches or go hunting. This day can also be ideal for shipping to since huge sales and bargains are offered by stores in Europe. It is comparable to Black Friday Sale in the US.
St. Stephen's Day
Date: December 26
St. Stephen’s Day is also celebrated on the day after Christmas like Boxing Day. Many Scandinavian countries celebrate this holiday. It is a day that commemorates the life of Saint Stephen, a Christian Martyr who was stoned to death. On this day, families go to theaters to watch pantomimes. Before, in Ireland, this holiday is celebrated by killing a wren where its feathers are taken off. Then, kids go knocking on neighbors doors asking for money in return of one wren’s feather. It was believed to bring good luck. Today, modern celebrations include parades and fireworks.
Date: October 31
Halloween is another widely celebrated holiday. On this day, the fun begins when older people attend to different parties wearing they scariest costumes. The children also find this day fun as it allows them to go trick or treating. Kids knock on neighbor’s doors, shout ‘trick or treat!’, and ask for sweets.
Epiphany/ Three King's Day
Date: January 6
This holiday is also called Twelfth Day. It is an ancient church festival that celebrates the magi’s visit to Jesus. The celebration of this holiday varies from culture to culture. In Netherlands and Germany, they dress children in groups of three with a costume to symbolize the three kings. The children knock from house to house singing traditional songs in exchange for coins. In most countries, festivities and sweets are enjoyed by families.
Date: between end of March or beginning of April
Easter is another Christian festival and holiday. On this day, people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As described in the New Testament, the resurrection happens on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary. Sounds too serious? Well, the fun begins when families and members of the church start to gather for the egg hunt. It has been a tradition to color and design hard boiled eggs for the kids to hunt. On this day, kids hunt for the eggs and get a basket of candy.
No matter where you are from or what you believe in, there should always be that one holiday that you love most; the holiday that you cherish the most because it always brings back and creates good memories that fill your heart.