Holidays and Traditions
Holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the world. This category covers religious and non-religious holidays and their associated traditions, as well as some multicultural events.
Asked by Stefanie Raynor in Christmas, Holidays and Traditions
How early do you start celebrating Christmas?
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, Calendar, Boxing Day
What is the origin of boxing day'?
December 26 is called Boxing Day in England and other countries in the Commonwealth, but it is unknown exactly when it first began. Boxing Day seems to have originated in the mid nineteenth century in England. Some historians believe the name 'Boxing Day' came about because the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited alms (coins) for the poor and needy were opened, and the contents were distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St Stephen. (St Stephen was the first Christian martyr.) Others believe that the Boxing Day tradition originated as a holiday for members of the upper class to give boxes containing food, clothing or money to tradespeople and servants, in much the same way that many employers offer their employees bonuses today. These gifts were usually given in boxes; hence the name 'Boxing Day". Oxford English Dictionary says this comes from the Christmas box; the verb box meaning: To give a Christmas-box, and then leading to the term boxing-day. An extension of the above theory is that when Christmas holidays were much shorter than they are today certain services often only had Christmas Day as a holiday and returned to work the day after. These included services such as the mail, newspaper or milk delivery. Householders would give them a Christmas gift or, as it was commonly called, a Christmas box on this day to thank them for their service throughout the year. The common theme, however, is that Boxing Day has absolutely nothing to do with the sport of boxing. Likewise, it does not gain its name from the overpowering need to rid the house of an excess of wrappings and mountains of now useless cardboard boxes the day after St Nick arrived to turn a perfectly charming and orderly home into a maelstrom of discarded tissue paper. The name also has nothing to do with returning unwanted gifts to the stores they came from, despite its common association with hauling about boxes on the day after Christmas. as after Christmas families had extra food left over so they would put it into boxes and bring it around to their neighbours It was custom for tradesmen to collect boxes of gifts for charities and homeless. Now its just a holiday boxing day dates back to around 400 A.D. but its true origin remains a mystery.
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Did they use a badger or a hedgehog instead of a groundhog on Groundhog's Day in Europe?
Europeans do not have an equivalent of Groundhog Day. In Canada and the US, Ground Hog Day is a silly annual festival, held in late winter, to 'predict" how soon Spring will come to the area, Groundhog Day in the US (as seen in the Bill Murray film) is 2nd February. Early in the morning, of the " Day ", a tame Ground Hog, is observed, to see if there is enough daylight for him " to see his shadow ". The result means either 6 more weeks of winter weather, or a earlier than normal spring thaw of the lakes and rivers, which are frozen in winter in Canada. A number of towns hold such a "Ground Hog Festival" as a tourist boost for the town. Some attract huge crowds, as much as 25,000 people to a town with a normal population of 5,000. The Day is allways held on a week end to get maximum attendance, and TV stations all ways send a camera crew to do a "live remote shoot". It is all in fun, and nobody takes it seriously at all. Pre-Christian Celts observed solar cycles halfway between each solstice and equinox; these are called Quarter Days. On Quarter Days, the "veil" between this world and the Otherworld or spirit world is thinnest. This is the best time to see into the future, with the aid of the spirits. On Samhuin (now Halloween) one dresses as a ghoul so that spirits intent on mischief would mistake you for one of their own and pass by. Groundhog day corresponds to Imbolc, therefore it has the prognostication aspect. Hedgehogs are "used" in Britain. Don't pick one up - they're loaded with fleas. The underlying principle behind Groundhog Day in North America was almost certainly brought over by settlers from western Europe. Both in England and Scotland there are old weather sayings about the same date (2 February) which is celebrated in many Christian traditions as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the popular name for which is Candlemas. All these sayings are similar; one example is: "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright Winter will have another fight; But if Candlemas Day brings clouds and rain, Winter's gone and won't come again." The principle behind the rhyme is this: in NW Europe (including the British Isles), sunny weather in early February is normally associated with anticyclonic weather, which often persists for long periods and brings long periods of cold, frosty weather. Cloudy, rainy weather is usually associated with depressions coming in from the Atlantic and the weather is consequently less cold, snow and frost appearing only briefly, if at all. The important thing is that by early February the weather is normally set in a pattern in that one or other of the above types tends to persist, usually for several weeks.
What are important holidays in Mexico?
Mexican holidays include: Observed by law: January 1: Año nuevo / New year's day February 5: Dia de la constitucion / Constitution Day March 21: Nacimiento de Benito Juarez / Benito Juarez's birthday - honors the most beloved president among Mexicans. May 1: Dia del Trabajo / Workers' day September 16: Independence day's military parade (Mexican Independence was declared on September 16, 1810 and the celebration usually begins on the late hours of September 15 at the Grito de independencia). November 20: Dia de la Revolucion / Mexican Revolution Day - commemorates the Mexican Revolution of 1910. December 25: Navidad / Christmas Not observed / Religious holidays: Note: Many companies and businesses grant these as paid-absence holidays, but it depends on an individual basis. January 6: Dia de los Santos Reyes / Epiphany celebration - is the day when Mexicans exchange Christmas presents. February: Carnaval / Lent - equivalent to the Mardi Gras in the United States, it is celebrated with parades, floats and dancing in the streets. February 2: Dia de la Candelaria / Candle-mas February 24: Dia de la bandera / Flag Day March 18: Expropiacion Petrolera / Expropriation of the oil industry in 1938. April: Semana Santa / Easter April 30: Dia del Niño / Children's day - Due to the celebration of the Revolution on November 20, in Mexico Children's Day is celebrated on April 30. May 5: Cinco de Mayo / Fifth of May - honors the Mexican victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. May 10: Dia de las madres / Mother's day - Due to the importance of the mother in Mexican culture, Mother's Day is an especially significant holiday. June 1: Dia de la marina / Navy day September 13: Niños Heroes de Chapultepec / Child Heroes of Chapultepec - Honors the martyr cadets of the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War of 1847. October 12: Dia de la raza / Columbus Day November 1 & 2: Dia de los muertos / Day of the dead - Mexican holiday that merges Pre-Columbian beliefs and modern Catholicism. December 12: Dia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe / Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe - honoring Mexico's patron saint.
Do Christians have major holidays in the year?
Asked in Holidays and Traditions, May Day
What are the Ice Man Days in May?
What do bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter or the resurrection of Christ?
Nothing, actually. People have been celebrating spring for as long as weather got cold in the winter, and food supplies dwindled. Birds usually lay their eggs in the spring, so eggs were a natural symbol for spring, rebirth, and new life. Rabbits are very fertile animals whose babies scampered about in spring, so they also became symbols of spring. Many ancient cultures celebrated the coming of spring with religious ceremonies. When the Romans were spreading across Europe, there were a lot of different religions, and assimilating people to Christianity was a challenge. Instead of simply forcing a whole new religion on people, they simply 'adopted' traditional dates and celebrated the Christian holidays on those same dates. Christmas also falls on around the time of pagan holidays that were celebrated during the winter solstice (Saturnalia, Yule, Rizdvo). Rabbits and eggs were both symbols of fertility and part of traditional pagan spring celebration of Ostara. They were incorporated into Christian Easter by a process of religious syncretism.
What percentage of people show for a party?
I think it is a matter of your social circle. Obviously, I am one of those whose guests arrive early and leave early, don't show or find something better to do. Reading online, it seems like it may be a matter of the invitation. Online hints include: Contact them at a good time (like after dinner) Bring in personal interest during your conversation inviting them Give them a role - bring something, guest Recontact them later if they cannot give you a yes or a no at that time In person contact is better than phone The way you ask them might be: I'm having a party next weekend. I'd love it if you could come!" Send the particulars on line or on paper so that they have all the information they need to get there on time and party!
What was the first holiday ever celebrated?
Unfortunately this would be very pre-historic times and something we will never know. The closest answer that could be given would likely be the celebration of the seasons such as the winter solstice. Civilizations around the globe all tend to have ancient traditions to celebrate the coming of a season.