Holidays help us mark time. They are the unique events that provide shape and meaning to our everyday existence. Across human history the wide array of nations and peoples have punctuated their calendars with unique days to observe, rejoice, memorialize, or trace the passage of their lives. Personally and as communities, we put aside times to reflect on the past and future, to rest and renew our bodies and souls, and simply for having fun. In the English language we call these unique occasions “holidays,” a contraction of the term “holy day.” Often holidays are literally holy days-the Sabbath, Easter, or Eid al-Fitr.
Know the world via Holidays and Celebrations
The HolidayCelebrationIdeas.com explores the interesting and detailed world of holidays, offering a guide to holidays and rites of passage worldwide, country by country, and thematically in documents on important transnational festivities and religions that cross national boundaries. Our numerous records show both the variations among the peoples of the world and what they have in common, the need to memorialize, to organize and determine the passage of time, and to infuse their ordinary lives with meaning, purpose, or pleasure.
Holidays are “times out of time”-moments when time seems to stand still. Regular time stops. We put job apart, adjust normal activities, assemble in different ways with family and friends, eat special foods, and let our minds to become more reflective or, often, less practical and more lighthearted. If holidays are ephemeral or transient, they are nonetheless
like guests who visit frequently and greatly affect our way of life. We anticipate their arrival, think of them when they
leave, and welcome them repeatedly in cycles.
We can discover many about a people or country through the special occasions they keep. What do the people believe, hold dear, or revile? What religious faiths or systems of belief hold sway, giving meaning and order to their lives? The
celebration, commemoration, or observance of holidays gives us insight into such questions, informing us about the countries and peoples of the world, both on their own words and in assessment to one another.
Holidays and Calendar
Yet if holidays seem to make time stand still, we realize in another aphorism that “time waits for no man.” The world and our lives are in flux, and despite the patterns and cycles we impose, time races on. Calendars and holidays reveal such change, recording it and marking the passing of time. At the very least, in our modern world, they chronicle that things were different in the past and are meant to be different in the future. Classic holidays take us “back to the future”-linking us with if not physically returning us to the past. As we celebrate or memorialize, festivals develop and are themselves transformed. Paradoxically, time and the holiday calendars that mark time seem to move both forward and in cycles. Our holidays are forces, not merely of tradition but of innovation. They help us to retain who we are and to transform ourselves over time.