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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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200508 Firework of Lake of Annecy festival (430).jpg

New Year's Eve is December 31, the final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year's Day. New Year's Eve is a separate observance from the observance of New Year's Day. In 21st-century Western practice, the celebration involves partying until the moment of the transition of the year at midnight. Drinking champagne is also a major part of the festivities.

Within many cultures the use of fireworks and other noise making is a major part of the celebration in cities such as Berlin, New York City, Sydney, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Prague and Tokyo. New Year's Eve is a public non-working holiday in the following countries, among others: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Greece, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Venezuela.

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Father time 7765.jpg

Father Time is a personification of time. He is usually depicted as an elderly bearded man, dressed in a robe, carrying an hourglass or other timekeeping device. This image is culled from several sources, including the Holly King, the Celtic god of the dying year, and Chronos, the Greek god of time. Because of their similarity in name as pertaining to parental figures, he is sometimes paired with Mother Nature as a married couple. Sometimes, due to the relationship between death and aging, Father Time is associated with the Grim Reaper.

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Credit: NOAA
Snow flakes by Wilson Bentley.

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