Holidays are special occasions that are celebrated by people all over the world. From Christmas to Diwali, holidays bring joy, happiness, and a chance to gather with loved ones. In this article, we've compiled a list of the top 25 fun facts about holidays, including their origins, traditions, and interesting tidbits. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy learning about some of the most beloved holidays around the world.
The Origin of the Word "Holiday"
The word "holiday" has its roots in the Old English word "haligdaeg," which means "holy day." This term was used to refer to religious days of observance, but over time, it began to encompass non-religious days of celebration as well.
The Most Popular Holiday in the World
Christmas is celebrated by over 2 billion people around the world and is considered the most popular holiday. It is a time for families to come together, exchange gifts, and share in the festive spirit.
The First Recorded Christmas Celebration
The first recorded Christmas celebration was in Rome in the year 336 A.D. The holiday was originally celebrated in January, but in the 4th century, the church decided to celebrate it on December 25th to coincide with the winter solstice.
The Longest Holiday Celebration
The Chinese New Year is the longest holiday celebration, lasting 15 days. The holiday, also known as Spring Festival, is celebrated in China and other Asian countries and is a time for family reunions, feasting, and honoring ancestors.
The First Thanksgiving Meal
The first Thanksgiving meal was held in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians gathered together for a three-day feast to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
The Most Popular Day for Chocolate Sales
Valentine's Day is the most popular day for chocolate sales, with an estimated 58 million pounds of chocolate sold in the United States alone. The holiday has been celebrated since the 4th century and is named after Saint Valentine.
The First Easter Egg Roll at the White House
The Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that dates back to 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the White House lawn to children for egg rolling on Easter Monday. The event has been held every year since, except during wartime.
The Origin of April Fools' Day
The origin of April Fools' Day is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in France in the 16th century. The day is marked by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes.
The Oldest New Year's Celebration
The oldest recorded New Year's celebration was in Mesopotamia in 2000 B.C. The celebration was held in March and lasted 11 days.
The Most Visited Tourist Destination During the Holidays
New York City is the most visited tourist destination during the holidays, with millions of people traveling there to see the famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the elaborate holiday window displays at the city's department stores.
The Tradition of Mistletoe
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to ancient times when it was believed to have mystical powers. The custom was later adopted by Christians as part of their Christmas celebrations.
The First Official Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day has been celebrated in the United States since the 1800s, but the first official celebration was held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in 1887. According to tradition, if the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, there will be six more weeks of winter.
The History of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It began in the second century BCE, when Jews in Judea were fighting against the Greek-Syrian empire. The holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated by lighting the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum, and eating traditional foods such as latkes and sufganiyot.
The First Recorded Valentine's Day Celebration
Valentine's Day is a holiday that celebrates love and romance. The first recorded celebration of Valentine's Day dates back to the year 496, when Pope Gelasius I declared February 14th as a Christian feast day in honor of Saint Valentine. Today, Valentine's Day is celebrated around the world with gifts, cards, and romantic gestures.
The Origin of Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army's victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is celebrated mainly in the United States and Mexico and has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Mexico's Independence Day.
The Largest Hot Air Balloon Festival
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, with over 500 balloons taking flight each year. The festival takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and features hot air balloon races, special-shaped balloons, and a fireworks show.
The Significance of Diwali
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a major Hindu holiday that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. It is celebrated in India and other countries with colorful decorations, the lighting of diyas or oil lamps, and the exchange of gifts and sweets.
The First National Arbor Day
Arbor Day is a holiday that celebrates the importance of trees and encourages the planting of new ones. The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska in 1872, and it became a national holiday in the United States in 1970. Today, Arbor Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.
The History of Labor Day
Labor Day is a holiday that celebrates the contributions and achievements of workers. The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City in 1882, and it became a national holiday in the United States in 1894. Today, it is celebrated on the first Monday in September with parades, picnics, and other festivities.
The First Independence Day Celebration
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, celebrates the independence of the United States from Great Britain. The first Independence Day celebration took place on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Today, the holiday is celebrated with fireworks, parades, and barbecues.
The Origin of Halloween
Halloween is a holiday that has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated in Ireland and other parts of Europe over 2,000 years ago. The holiday has since evolved into a day of costumes, candy, and spooky decorations. It is celebrated on October 31st and is popular in many countries around the world.
The Tradition of Christmas Lights
The tradition of Christmas lights dates back to the 17th century when candles were used to decorate Christmas trees. In the 19th century, electric lights were invented, and they quickly became the preferred method of decorating. Today, Christmas lights are used to decorate homes & trees.
The practice of illuminating homes and streets with electric lights during the holiday season began in the late 1800s. The first electrically lit Christmas tree was displayed in 1882 in New York City. The use of Christmas lights has now become a widespread tradition worldwide and serves as a symbol of hope and joy during the holiday season.
The Most Expensive New Year's Eve Celebration
The most expensive New Year's Eve celebration was held at Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, in Dubai in 2013. The event cost around $6 million and featured a massive fireworks display and live performances by top artists.
The First National Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States since 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise." However, in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November to extend the holiday shopping season.
Holidays are an essential part of human culture and have evolved over time to become significant events for communities and nations worldwide. From the origins of the word "holiday" to the most expensive New Year's Eve celebration, these fun facts offer a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of holidays across the globe.