Holidays Around The World 2003

Our 2004 World Holiday Listing Is Now Up, click here to go to it!

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.

Diwali (India, Singapore) October 25-30 (formal) Various events from 10-11 to 11-13
Ramadan (Muslim) October 27 to November 25, 2003
All Saints Day (Catholics, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Portugal, 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
Culture's Day (Japan) November 3
Recreation Day (Tasmania) November 3
Melbourne Cup Day (Australia) November 4-6
Canterbury Anniversary (Canterbury, New Zealand) November 9
Remembrance Day (Alberta Canada, Bermuda and Belgium) November 11
Veteran's Day (U.S. - Actual) November 11
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
Quds Day (Muslim) November 21
Labour's Day (Japan) November 23
Lailat al Kadr (Muslim) November 23
Id al Fitr (Muslim) November 25
Thanksgiving (U.S.) Thursday November 27
Day After Thanksgiving (U.S. Some States Only) Friday November 28
Devonport Show (Tasmania) Friday November 28
Advent (Christian) November 30
End of Spanish Domination (Portugal) December 1
Westland & Chatham Island Anniversary (New Zealand) December 1
Lailat al Bara'a (Muslim) Monday December 2
Saint Nicolas (Netherlands) December 5
Independence Day (Finland) December 6
Immaculate Conception (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Portugal, Austria) Saturday December 8
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) (Buddists) December 8
Guadalupe's Day (Mexico) December 12
Birth of Baha'u'llah (Bahi) December 12>
Hanukkah (Jewish) December 20-27
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) December 26
Independence Day (Slovenia) December 26
St Stephen (Austria, Luxembourg) December 26
New Years Day (Most of Europe and the Americas) January 1
Day After New Years January 2nd


This season begins late in October with the Muslim month of fasting (Ramadan) which ends November 25h with IDU'L-FITR, one of their two most important holidays. At the start of December comes Lailat al Kadr or LAILATU'L-QADR -- the night of power when it is believe their sins are forgiven.

India and Singapore celebrate the "Festival Of Lights" Deepvali or Diwali on October 25-30, although some festivals are set for as early as October 11th and as late as November 13 in various schools and towns. See our separate story on this celebration elsewhere in Issues.

With the start of November comes the 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.

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 3, plus they have the Melbourne Cup race a few days laters, 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. Remember, Christmas comes in summer to the land down under, with many of the kids out on summer vaction since November!

On November 11th some countries (including the U.S. and Canada) celebrate Veterans or Remembrance day(although some business in the U.S. only celebrate Memorial day, which comes in the spring).

The United States has its own special holiday on the Thursday November 27th, 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.

Starting at the end of 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).

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, 2004). See our separate story on Christmas Around The World elsewhere in Issues. Some orthodox Christian relgions even celebrate Christmas Day on January 25th and some of the Latin American countries have traditions running into February that began with All Saints Day back in November!

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, 2004 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:

World Holidays November-December 2003 - Winter Festivals and Lighting Displays 2003 - Saying Merry Christmas In Many Languages - Origin Of December 25th As Christmas Day
Story of the Candy Cane - Christmas in The USA - Treats To Leave For Santa
Fable of St. Nick - Poetry: Christmas Recalled - Poetry: Whispers The Wind
Holiday Traditions Revisited - Movies: Santa Films - Gift Ideas for Computer Owners
Picture Perfect Gift Ideas - Religion: Luke's Christmas Story From The Bible
Recipe: Cooking A Turkey Recipe: Turkey Teriyaki - Movavian Love-Feast Buns
SUFGANIYOT - A Solitary Wicca Yule Ritual - Why Are There Christmas Lights? -

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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