A holiday is a set aside day usually by law or custom, where most normal everyday activities, particularly work or school including church, are either suspended or cut down. In general, holidays are meant to let people commemorate or celebrate an occasion or symbol of social or communal importance. The most common festivals on the calendar include Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween. The word ‘holidays’ actually comes from the Old English words “huprautos” or “holy man” and “hof” which means household. Holidays usually indicate an occasion that is celebrated with much gusto by the people, who usually like to spend their vacations in places where they can enjoy outdoor activities too.
Holidays have been celebrated since ancient times when individuals would go their own way and travel to the nearby temples or other holy places to perform good deeds and ask for blessings. Religious institutions have their own set of holidays, which help in boosting the community spirit as well as teaching children good morals and values. These holidays also allow individuals who belong to different religions to spread the message of their religion or belief to others. Some of the major religious festivals during which people normally celebrate holidays include Christmas, New Year’s, Easter and Mother’s Day among others.
During medieval times, people celebrated certain days such as payday, the end of the cold season and St. Valentine’s Day amongst other things. The etymology of the word “holiday” goes back to the Middle Ages when it was used to denote the season dedicated to the Catholic Church. As time passed by, the word holiday became less specific and it was adopted by individuals to mean any kind of special day set apart for relaxation and enjoyment. It is believed that the first holiday was observed by ancient Egyptians as a way of breaking their fasts and practicing charity. Later on, Christians introduced the practice of celebrating a holy day with foods and drinks associated with the religion and some even went to the extent of decorating their homes and churches with beautiful flowers and candles.