Holidays Around The World

For the current (2004) list of holidays click here!

These are either state or religious holidays and within those countries listed most businesses are closed for that specific date. Many of the religious holidays have some type of custom associated with the event.

Below this list you will find some background and details for some of the celebrations, based on either the country or belief.

All Saints Day (Catholics, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Portugal, Luxembourg, Austria) November 1
All Saints Day (Brazil, Mexico) November 2
All Souls' Day (Luxembourg) November 2
All Saints Day (Finland) November 3
All Saints Day (Sweden) November 4
Lailat al Bara'a (Muslim) Friday November 2
Culture's Day (Japan) November 3
Recreation Day (Tasmania) Tuesday November 6
Melbourne Cup Day (Australia) Tuesday November 6
Diwali (India, Singapore) Wednesday November 7
Canterbury Anniversary (Canterbury, New Zealand) November 9
Remembrance Day (Alberta Canada, Bermuda and Belgium) November 11
Veteran's Day (U.S. - Actual) November 11
Veteran's Day (U.S. - Observed) November 12
Proclamation of the Republic (Brazil) November 15
Students' Day (Czech Republic) November 17
Revolution's Day (Mexico) November 20
Prayer's Day (Saxony) November 21
Thanksgiving (U.S.) November 22
Guru Nanak (India) Friday November 23
Labour's Day (Japan) November 23
End of Spanish Domination (Portugal) December 1
Saint Nicolas (Netherlands) December 5
Independence Day (Finland) December 6
Immaculate Conception (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Portugal, Austria) Saturday December 8
Hanukkah (Jewish) December 12
Guadalupe's Day (Mexico) December 12
Lailat al Kadr (Muslim) Thursday December 13
Quds Day (Muslim) Friday December 14
Eid El Fitr (India, Macedonia and some other Muslim Communities) Sunday December 16
'Id al Fitr (Muslim) Monday December 17
Emperor's Birthday (Japan) December 23
Christmas (Denmark) December 24
Christmas (Generic Christian) December 25
Boxing Day (Much of Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Bermuda) Wednesday December 26
Independence Day (Slovenia) December 26
St Stephen (Austria, Luxembourg) December 26
New Years Day (Most of Europe and the Americas) January 1


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This season begins with the largely Christian/Catholic All Saints Day, which honors every martyr, every Saint, known or unknown. The actual day of celebration varies from country to country and can be anywhere from November 1 to November 4. It is a day of reverence and remembrance.

The Muslim Lailat al Bara'a (LAILATU'N-NISF MIN SHA'BAN or Lailat ul Bara'h) or Night of Forgiveness comes on November 2nd this year (their calendar is vastly different). Tradition dictates they remain up all night and fast the next day. The night is often spent in remembrance of the dead.

Later in November (around the 17th) begins the Muslim month of fasting (Ramadan) which ends sometime in December with IDU'L-FITR, one of their two most important holidays. At the end of December comes Lailat al Kadr or LAILATU'L-QADR -- the night of power when it is believe their sins are forgiven.

Japan designates a “culture’s day” holiday on November 3, their "Labor" day comes on November 23rd, plus the Emperor's birthday is celebrated on December 23rd, but their major holiday celebrations during these months center around the new year starting on December 29.

Much of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand celebrate a special day for recreation on November 6, but their primary holiday of this season is largely Christmas, although with the influx of immigrants in recent years many other beliefs and special days are celebrated. Also, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day, December 26th) is celebrated throughout the region, along with New Years day on January 1st.

India and Singapore celebrate the "Festival Of Lights" Deepvali or Diwali on November 7th. See our separate story on this celebration elsewhere in Issues.

On November 11th some countries (including the U.S. and Canada) celebrate Veterans or Remembrance day. Because of the so-called 'Monday' holiday law the United States observes this day on Monday, November 12, with all government offices, all banks and many other businesses closed for a three day weekend (although some business only celebrate Memorial day, which comes in the spring).

The United States has its own special holiday on the Thursday November 22nd, celebrating Thanksgiving for the first harvest of crops in the 'New World' by the settlers from Europe which ensured the survival of the colonists through the next winter. This is a day of feasting, usually with a big turkey, lots of mashed potatoes or yams, pumpkin pie, apple pie, egg-nog and the Macy's Day Parade (see our TV section for pictures on this annual event). These days many businesses take a 4 day holiday, by staying closed on Friday after Thanksgiving, a tradition actually started several years back by United Parcel Service whose labor force gave up a "floating" holiday for a fixed holiday on this date. For several years only UPS took this day off, but with shipping serviced curtailed and the prospect of a 4 day weekend, may other businesses are now closed -- but not banks or government offices.

During December the Jewish Hanukah or Chanukah celebration occurs. This is the festival of lights to celebrate the return of their religious traditions after having driven out an occupying country who outlawed their religion. This holiday celebrates the 'miracle' of their menorah (a religious lamp) staying lighted throughout the eight days after restoring their temple (they believed they only had enough oil for one day). They also open a gift for each day of Hanukah. Special foods for this period include potato pancakes cooked in hot oil and a type of irregular shaped, deep fried pastry with a jelly filling (somewhat similar to the jelly donuts you find at bakeries).

In mid-December several Muslim holidays occurs including Lailat al Kadr on the 13th, Quds Day on the 14ty, Eid El Fitr on either the 16th or 17th.

Many European and South American Christian or Catholic countries begin their Christmas period around this time (December 8th) with a variety of celebrations lasting clear up into the New Year with Epiphany (the original birth date for Jesus). The fabled 12 days of Christmas occurs between December 25 and the Epiphany (January 6, 2002). See our separate story on Christmas Around The World elsewhere in Issues.

Boxing Day (the day after Christmas or December 26th) is also celebrated throughout much of Europe and the UK. This day was originally for the giving of small gifts to servants and workers.

Finally we reach December 31 and this is a very important day! It's the day we, here at Issues Magazine, go out-of-our minds trying to get the January 1, 2002 issue up and running! It's a day filled with angst, terror, shock, dismay, all sorts of utterances! Oh, yeah, it's also New Years eve for much of the world, but we don't have the time to deal with such trivial matters as these here at Issues!

No matter what you celebrate, have a safe, happy and merry time!

Our Holiday Special Issue continues with these offerings:

From this year (2002):
Holiday Festivals, Displays and Events - Bah Humbug! - Gift Ideas Under $10
Some Unique Mail Order Gifts - Staying In The Holiday Spirit
Holidays Around the World

From last year (2001):
Diwali - India's Festival Of Lights - Christmas Around The World
The Origin of Some Christmas Traditions - Picking and Trimming a Christmas Tree
Shipping Your Holiday Gifts - Oh Ye Disbelievers: The Fable of Saint Nick
Gifts She'll Love - Wreath - Stockings - Stollen -
Techno Gifts - CD Musical Stocking Stuffers from Then to Now - Every pick's a hit!

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