What Are Holidays?

Holidays

The term holiday is a term used to describe a day or period of celebration that is designated as a day of rest or relaxation. The word originally referred to special religious days. Today, however, the term has become broader and is used to describe a dedicated day or period for celebration. In the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, the word holiday often refers to a day off from work or school, while other countries follow specific observances.

Federal holidays

If your workplace requires you to work on federal holidays, you should know what those days entail. While many employees are entitled to some time off during these days, others may not be given any time off at all. This is especially true for emergency personnel, healthcare workers, and retail and service workers. Hospitals, for instance, require their medical staff to work on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, many organizations offer employees some form of incentive or reward if they work on federal holidays. If you are unsure whether your employer honors federal holidays, you can discuss it with Human Resources.

Gazetted holidays

Gazetted holidays are the days of the year when the Government declares that it will close all its offices and facilities for certain activities. These are declared as mandatory government holidays for business organizations and educational institutions across the country. While notified holidays are mandatory for most organizations, private companies can make their own list of public holidays. However, some organizations may not have notified holidays, which means they will still work. The list of holidays may vary based on the policies and practices of the organization.

Observances

Observances of holidays vary widely by culture. In Islam, for example, the main holidays are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Muslims also observe the Promised Messiah Day and the Promised Reformer Day. Hindus and Sikhs observe a number of holidays, as do the Japanese. Catholics observe several holidays with heavy religious references. Neopagans follow the Wheel of the Year.

Observances in other countries

Observances of holidays in other countries are not always well-known, but they are common to many cultures. Halloween, also called Allhallows’ Eve or All Hallows’ Night, is celebrated on October 31. Christmas is observed in many Christian nations, but in non-Christian nations, such as China, it isn’t celebrated until three weeks before the New Year. Many countries celebrate holidays with similar themes, such as Vernal Equinox Day in Japan or Holi in India. Different Spanish-speaking nations also celebrate All Souls’ Day of the Dead. Similarly, some countries celebrate military-related holidays, such as Armistice Day, in which people remember those who died during the war.

Observances by religious groups

Many religious groups observe several holidays throughout the year, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Diwali. Some of these holidays are associated with specific festivals, such as the Feast of Tabernacles, which begins at sundown on the eighth day of the Jewish calendar. On this day, observances include the blessing of animals and crops, prayers, and family get-togethers. Some religious groups celebrate these holidays differently, depending on their beliefs.