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Portal:Holidays

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Chinese New Year, Copenhagen 2006.
In the American English-speaking world, a holiday is a day set aside by a nation or culture, typically for celebration, but sometimes for other kinds of special culture-wide observances or activities. A holiday can also be a special day on which schools and/or offices are closed, such as Labor Day. In the British English-speaking world, a holiday is a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation; the North American equivalent is "vacation". However, some Canadians will use both the terms vacation and holiday interchangeably when referring to a trip away from home or time off of work.

The word holiday has related but different meanings in English-speaking countries. Based on the words holy and day, holidays originally represented special religious days. The word has evolved in general usage to mean any special day of rest (as opposed to regular days of rest, such as the weekend). When translated from/to other languages, the meanings of the word "holiday" may be conflated with those of "observance" and "celebration". Most holidays can be placed into one of several groupings, depending upon origin, calendar placements, and national observance. Almost all involve traditions of music, dance, art, and/or food, facilitating social engagement and relaxation.


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The Winter Solstice or Midwinter, depending on the shift of the calendar, occurs some time between December 20 and December 23 in the northern hemisphere, and between June 20 and June 23 in the southern hemisphere, during either the shortest day or longest night of the year. Though the winter solstice lasts an instant, the term is also colloquially used to refer to the full 24-hour day on which it occurs.

The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

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Guy Fawkes (13 April 1570 – 31 January 1606), also known as Guido Fawkes was an English military man and member of a group of Roman Catholics who attempted to carry out the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605. "The Gunpowder Plot" was a plan to assassinate the Protestant King James I and the members of both houses of the Parliament of England, by blowing up Westminster Palace, in which the king addressed a joint assembly of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. His activities were detected before the plan's completion, and following a severe interrogation involving the use of torture and a trial in Westminster Hall, he and his co-conspirators were executed for treason and attempted murder. Fawkes's failure (or the attempt) is remembered by Guy Fawkes Night (also known as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night) on 5 November.

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Credit: commons:User:David.Monniaux
Bastille Day Military Parade of July 14, 2006 on the Champs Élysées in Paris, France.

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