The Most Celebrated Holidays Around the Globe
Through the whole world and all the religions out there, there is at least one holiday that is very and widely celebrated. Some are religious, some are secular… The holiday everyone celebrates (but maybe not at the same time) is The New Year’s Eve, of course. Depending on the time zone, it comes to each country within a day, except for China, where it depends on the moon and comes in February. Other two, also big holidays are Christmas in the Christian world and Ramadan in the Muslim religion. Of course, there are much more holidays, so let’s take a close look to each and every one of them.
8. April 1st, Fools Day
Well, I guess there is no need for explaining this holiday so much, because there can’t be one who doesn’t know about it, whether he/she liked it or not. This is a day when every kind of joke is allowed, and you can be forgiven even for not so pleasant ones. All in all, this is one very happy holiday! There is no certain historic information about origins of this holiday, but there are several theories. One is that some European people, when new calendar replaced the old one, refused to celebrate the beginning of the New Year on January 1st, but did it on April 1st, so other people made fun of them. There is another theory that emperor Constantine allowed one man to be a king for a day on 1st of April, and that man decided that day to be devoted to fun and laugh. So, don’t remember to make as much jokes as you can on that day, to have a good laugh, and of course trust no one – that’s how you’ll spend it hilariously!
7. Valentine’s Day
This is a holiday everyone knows and celebrates, but not many know its origins. St Valentine was a person, one of the theories is that he was martyred because he didn’t want to give up Christianity, so he was murdered on February 14th. This holiday was celebrated even in ancient Rome, this day was devoted to Juno, the Goddess of marriage. Today on this day every couple exchanges gifts, flowers, spends more time together. Well, this is something all couples should do every day, not to have just one day to devote to their relationship and partner. But, nevermind. There were various traditions all around the world about Valentine’s Day, some are still alive. For example, centuries ago it was believed that if woman sees a sparrow flying over her head she will marry soon and be very happy, but she’ll not have much money. There were many others, let’s call them superstitions, maybe some of them survived to nowadays. Feel free to tell us about some interesting tradition you follow or you’ve heard about.
This holiday is also called Pesach in Hebrew and it is a most important and mostly celebrated Jewish holiday. knowing that there are Jews all around the globe, we can imagine how many places where it is celebrated there are. Depending on the calendar and a country it is celebrated for seven or eight days (seven days in Israel only). It is meant to remind all Hebrews about the time when their ancestors were released from slavery in Egypt – Exodus story (from the Bible). So, practically, it is celebration of liberty. This story is being told on the first and the second evening during the dinner that comes after the Passover Seder – service. Things on the plate during the dinner are called Symbols of the Seder Plate. There are seven of them – vegetables (they are put in salty water before eating that represents tears of their slave-ancestors), lamb’s shank bone (reminds of plague that killed all the first-borns in Egypt, and the lamb’s blood was a sign that death should just pass by that door), boiled egg (as a symbol of fertility), Charoset or Haroset (a mixture of apples, wine and nuts that Hebrews used when building structures in Egypt), bitter herbs (that remind the bitterness of the slavery) and the last one that was added long after these ones and it’s optional – orange (as a symbol of marginalized groups in their society – women and homosexuals). And as any other religious holiday, this one also has a certain diet that is called Kosher. The negative food list contains barley, oats, corn, legumes…
5. Buddha Day
This is the widest celebrated Buddhist holiday. It celebrates three things in one day – birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Other and more common name for this holiday is Vesak – it’s the name of the month when it is celebrated in the Indian calendar. It can be celebrated in the last full moon in May, with a little exception for the leap years, when the celebration is moved to June. All the Buddhists all over the Asia spend this day in temples completing their religious duties. There are four of them – Tum Boon (going to temples for Dharma preaching), Rub Sill (abstaining from all the immoral actions), Tuk Bard (giving the food to monks and meditation practice) and the most important is Vien Tien (in the evening all the people organize a candle-lit process, every person must hold flowers and candles on his/her way to the temple). They say that in such way they make a path for Buddha and all his followers to their home – a temple.
This is the biggest Islamic holiday and it lasts for a month!!! And there is more, they’re fasting for the whole month, to learn how to self-restraint, as the Qur’an commands. They are not allowed to eat and drink during the whole day, they may have a meal after the sunset and before sunrise. In Ramadan (as to say the ninth month of Islamic calendar) the fasting is not the only thing that purifies the body and the soul. Besides restriction of eating and drinking during the whole day for all over the age of 12, there are also restrictions for every part of the body. For example, the mouths’ restriction is to abstain from gossips and talking in vain. The fasting extends to the upper level, it requires re-evaluation of personal beliefs and deeds, and according to that – asking for forgiveness. Above all, this, being the month when Allah revealed the Qur’an to his prophet Muhammad, this is a month of worshiping their God. So, every evening during the whole month one thirtieth of the Qur’an is being read, so they finish it in complete. It may seem very hard, even impossible to live like this for a month, but because all the Muslims are doing the same, they give each other support, and beside that, it is said that God will reward good deeds done in this period, more that ones done in any other time. So, they all have a strong will for fasting and praying, and above all re-examine their faith. Furthermore, they pray five times a day, and go to mosque, but that’s what they do anyway. In the end of the fasting, they through a party named ‘Iftar’, but after Ramadan, they still do their best to continue with the good deeds.
The simplest description of this holiday is celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but it’s even more than that. One specific thing about this holiday is that it must always be on Sunday. And it is the first Sunday of the full moon after the spring equinox. The Easter tradition doesn’t represent only one day, the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion when He resurrected from the dead, but it also includes 40 days before it, that are devoted to fasting, as a symbol of repentance and more self-discipline. For Christians, this is one of the biggest holidays (beside Christmas), because due to their doctrine, Jesus died on the cross and resurrected, to pay the penalty for our sins, all out of love, being the Son of God, thus giving an eternal life to all who believe. More about this can be found in all of the Gospels in the NewTestimony. Though Easter, in certain way, can be very sad holiday, it is very happy at the same time, because Jesus was crucified (which might be sad) but after that he resurrected and saved us all (that is the happy part), so He defeated death. There are lots of ways of celebrating it, but the most common includes dying eggs and kicking one against the other to see which one is tougher. The first painted egg must be red and it is preserved until the next Easter as a house-keeping egg. This holiday reminds us to forgive and ask for forgiveness for all our sins, not just from God, but from the people too, so that metaphorically our mind and spirit are reborn after a purification of the soul. That’s a good message for all the people, not just the Christians, to forgive and ask for forgiveness, they’ll feel much better after that.
This is the widest celebrated holiday in the Christian world in all the continents. It is the day when Jesus was born, so it is celebrated as a very happy holiday, because according to Christianism, Jesus came to save people’s souls from hell and help them repent and gain the redemption of the soul. Depending on the calendar (the Gregorian and the Julian ones) it is celebrated on the 25th of December in catholic countries and on the 7th of January in Orthodox countries. The two calendars differ in 13 days, so it explains the difference in dates, but no matter which calendar you follow, it is told that New Year cannot come before Jesus was born (Christmas always comes first), so there is the Orthodox New Year celebrated on January 13th. The first year in historical documents that shows a celebration of this holiday is 354 AD. It is considered that some elements of this festivity have their origins way back in pagan religion (for example the burning of a yule log), because some pagan people were converted to Christians. The tradition was slightly change during the Dark (Middle) Ages, when it was in the shadow of the Epiphany, but after that it was the public festival again. After that up to even nowadays there have been (and I guess it will be more) lots of discussions about Christmas, it origin, the way it was celebrated… We’ll only pay attention to some most popular traditions considering Christmas, because discussions can be endless. The actual birth of Jesus is described in several Gospels (according to Luke and Mathew for example) and in the celebration of Christmas people try to imitate those circumstances – meaning place decoration, actions, etc. The inevitable part of the celebration is certainly a Christmas Tree, that can be really lovely decorated, and in some countries the Santa Claus. There are also certain songs, called Christmas Carols to be sung that day, mostly by children. Some of those songs were originally national, folk songs that took religious form. Other important thing was/is food. Dishes vary from country to country but the common thing between them is that they must be eaten in family surrounding. All in all, a very happy and ff (friends and family) holiday.
1. New Years Eve
New Year is definitely the oldest celebrated holiday, though it wasn’t always beginning on the 1st of January. Believe or not, the celebration of the New Year began with people from Babylon, 4000 years ago! They celebrated it during the so called New Moon, which was the night of the first fool moon after the Vernal Equinox (the first day of spring). When you think about it you’ll realize that it was rather logic to celebrate it then, with the spring being the season when everything in the nature wakes up, when the seeds are planted, everything is blossoming, etc. In Babylon, the New Year was celebrated for 11 days and modern celebrations are nothing special comparing to theirs. After the Babylonians, the Romans continued to celebrate New Year in march or a while, but due to changing calendar, for various emperors, it was no longer adjusted to the Sun. But, in the year 46 B.C. Julius Caesar established Julian Calendar (to set all the previous calendars right) that declared January 1st as the beginning of the New Year. The ones who continued celebrating it in march were proclaimed as pagans by the Church. During the Middle Ages, church was still against celebrating the New Year on January 1st – it is has been celebrated on that day only for past 400 years. The widest tradition related to the New Year also comes from the Babylonians – the were saying that when the New Year starts, they will return all they had borrowed. One of the very old traditions was using a baby in the basket in the parade to mark a start of another year, that dates back 600 years B.C. It celebrated the rebirth of Dionis, their god of wine, and when the Christianism spread, the baby represented little Jesus. And as a part of so long tradition, it was believed that one can do something to affect its luck in the next year by doing and eating certain things. That is why it is celebrated among friends and family, the people that make you happy, and it is also believed that eating something in the ring shape brought good luck. So, having the holiday close enough, try some of these or give us your lucky advice.