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Holidays

HOLIDAYS

HOLIDAYS. Holidays are "holy days," when people interrupt the profane, mundane round of production and celebrate with the preparation and eating of special foods and meals. The two basic forms of holidays are a festival (from Latin festum for 'feast'), when people break their normal weekly, monthly, or annual routine to celebrate together, and a vacation (in the sense of leaving their homes and workplaces empty), when an often longer disruption may be accompanied by dislocation, as people change residences or travel.

Festivals

Traditionally, festivals have enjoyed an explicitly religious interpretation, so that the Sabbath of Jews, Christians, and Muslims is a God-ordained day of rest. Many holidays have been associated with seasonal change, and the New Year is celebrated in many calendars, notably the Chinese, with brilliant feasts. Other festivals have been national, ordered by governments to honor founding events and heroes, such as Bastille Day (14 July) in France. Further holidays might commemorate children, an emperor's birthday, the achievements of war veterans or the working class. Australians take legislated days off for horse races.

Festival foods often feature in cookery books, such as the multivolume Foods and the World series of Time-Life (19681971). Conversely, festival foods are often described in surveys of holidays around the world, such as Holidays and Festivals (1999). Traditionally, women have worked together for several days on elaborate preparations, such as finely decorated confectionery and pastries, which have been keenly anticipated each year and have long remained poignant reminders of local, ethnic, and religious affiliations.

Eating and drinking might become especially abundant at harvest festivals and the breaking of a fast, as when Carnival concludes the Christian Lent and at the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. Particular foods might be featured, such as the lamb and unleavened bread of the Jewish Passover. The Hindu festival of lights, Divali, celebrates the longest night of the year (which falls in October or November in the Western calendar) with gifts of sweets, which vary immensely across the subcontinent. The Scottish haggis, which is a boiled sheep's stomach stuffed with mutton offal and oats, is a triumph of symbolic grandeur if not culinary, typical of midwinter and so featuring at hogmanay (New Year's Eve) and again on Burns Night (25 January), which commemorates the birthday of poet Robert Burns, who praised the haggis as the "great chieftain o' the puddin'-race."

Thanksgiving (the last Thursday in November) is a national American feast on which families dine on turkey and traditional accompaniments. The warmer weather of Independence Day (4 July) encourages parades and more casual, outdoor eating, especially barbecued chicken and perhaps an apple pie or red, white, and blue cake. Particular foods tend not to be associated with newer holidays, and yet the community mindedness of Martin Luther King's Day (the third Monday in January) might be reflected in sharing minority cuisines and decorating paper bags for food deliveries to the needy.

Vacations

Monarchs frequently took their court on an extended voyage through the countryside from palace to palace. Other leisured classes have long avoided either extreme of temperature by "summering" or "wintering" at an alternate house or resort. With the expansion of rail and road networks and the democratization of the annual break, more people took vacations. They could grow up knowing life on the farm from childhood holidays spent with cousins, could visit distant relatives when several national holidays coincide (such as ChristmasNew Year's and the Japanese "Golden Week"), and could experience the products of hotel, restaurant, and other kitchens, sometimes in foreign countries, where everything might be closed for an unexpected holiday of pageantry and feasting.

The Effect of Globalization on Holidays

Whether in premodern China, ancient Rome, medieval Europe, or modern industrial societies, the proportion of holidays has remained remarkably constantapproximately one day in three. However, with globalization, and more continuous production and consumption, fewer collective breaks are observed. The seasonal emphasis is giving way to consumer weekends, a few national days, plus individual annual leave. Religious feasts are losing out to sport and entertainment, gift-giving breaks such as Christmas are commercially exploited, and vacations are serviced by organized leisure and tourism industries.

The innocent "holiday mood," which has been relished not just by the holidaymakers but novelists and screenwriters, is in danger of being lost. Holidays provide scenic locations, laid-back atmospheres, and breaks in everyday routines for the unexpected to happen. A gem of the French cinema, Jean Renoir's Une partie de campagne (often translated as A Day in the Country, 1936/46), centers around a Parisian family picnic at a country inn, during which two men invite the mother and betrothed daughter to go boating. In Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray or Summer, 1986), director Eric Rohmer shifts his listless heroine to various French holiday destinations, and she memorably justifies her vegetarianism over an outdoor lunch. Hollywood has often taken teenagers on summer holidays for lessons in growing up, their chosen meal typically milkshakes and hamburgers.

The association between holidays and foods may be lessening, yet it persists in many ways, and understanding the genesis of holidays assists in continuing to reinvent them.

Explaining Holidays

The Russian author Mikhail Bakhtin in Rabelais and His World (1968) analyzed the carnivalesque, the inversions when aristocrats and servants change places, when scatological humor temporarily undermines the dominant ideology, and when eating reappears as a "grotesque" reality. More conventionally, such boisterous breaks as Mardi Gras are often said to "release" pent-up energy that might otherwise be destructive.

Other social scientists have viewed holy days as "sacred" moments that give shape to otherwise "profane" time. Developing this approach from Émile Durkheim, anthropologist Edmund Leach asks in "Two Essays concerning the Symbolic Representation of Time" (1961) why people dress up in "false noses" or, more precisely, adopt three types of behavior: increased formality (such as an English Sunday), masquerade (New Year's Eve revelry), and role reversal (Mardi Gras). He then argues that such activities generate and reinforce sacred time (so that "transgressive" and "sacred" accounts are not so different). Such holidays contribute to social cohesion, not only reinforcing a common interpretation of the world, but also facilitating a rhythmic pattern of activities and so the "ordering of time."

Food is then usually regarded as "symbolic" of sacred time. Yet the inverse often makes better sense because holidays are grounded in cycles of food production. The interruption in "profane" routine by joy, revelry, or contemplation generates the holy. A harvest festival is an obvious case, when an intense burst of consumption follows a busy period of gathering and preserving, and when people are no doubt so profoundly thankful that they bring these crops before the gods.

Likewise, lamb might "represent" Easter, but while offering first fruits might come to "symbolize" spring, before that, the rejoicing at their arrival generates the concept of spring. The word "Easter" comes from the old English easter or eastre, a festival of spring, and its lambs, eggs, and rabbits are more than mere "symbols" of spring; they are spring. The Jewish festival of Passover derives from the Hebrew's nomadic origins, when the new growth would have supported extended gatherings, celebrated by sacrificing some of the newly increased flock. Since Jesus had been put to death around the time of Passover, Christians adopted the symbolism of Jesus as a sacrificial lamb.

The trappings of Christmas belong to the phalanx of "pagan" midwinter festivals; the merrymaking and exchange of presents join the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia and other cheering anticipations of cornucopia. With no certain tradition as to the date of Jesus' birth, Emperor Constantine chose the winter solstice, possibly to "compete" with the other festival, as often stated, but more likely to place Jesus' birthday appropriately at the beginning of the year.

Not only the seasonal festivals but also the weekly are based on the food supply. In different cultures, weeks have comprised three, four, five, six, seven, ten, or other number of days. With few exceptions, these have been organized around the market cycle. A strict periodicity must be maintained for both the circuit of sellers and the attendance of buyers. The Christian world took the seven-day week from the Jews, who had adopted it from the Babylonians.

Marking out the market week and seasonal year, festivals dramatize the cycles of food production and consumption upon which our survival depends. The feasts become time-keeping devices, proto-calendars. For, in another inversion of a common assumption, holy days were not the products of formal calendars, but their antecedents. Festivals originally had ecological dates, because they related closely to winter scarcity, bud-burst, arrival of flocks of birds or schools of fish, the weakening of the monsoon, and other natural cues. With precise astronomical observations, central authorities then created rational calendars and so, eventually, more "exact" festivals.

Upholding Holidays

Commercialism has boosted Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and others. Among ancient holidays that have gained new life, Valentine's Day encourages couples to dine out, and Japanese women to give chocolates. The food and drink industries have introduced a range of festivals, not the least the return of weekend farmers' markets, and annual food and wine fairs replete with tastings and grand banquets.

The mobility of global populations might have made many holidays anachronistic in that traditional meals are out of season; for example, Christmas turkey and plum pudding are absurd in the middle of the hottest days, as happens in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet people adapt, and many Australians enjoy the heavy fare during their winter, on 25 June or 25 July (for some reason, seven months out seems to be preferred). People invent their own rituals to surround a global television event, such as the annual telecast of the Academy Awards.

The individualization of holidays encourages new approaches. The registration of precise dates of birth has helped make this an important anniversary; many people ask for their birthday off from work, and even attach an appropriately seasonal food or meal. Married couples, probably having conducted much of their courtship over dinner, having founded their new household at a wedding breakfast, and then having gone on a honeymoon, celebrate wedding anniversaries at a romantic dinner at a restaurant or weekend retreat. Perhaps they celebrate other milestones, such as the departure of children from the "nest." People take other rites of passage seriously, such as reaching adulthood at the age of eighteen or twenty-one.

Influential American and British cookery writers discovered the joys of traditional European cuisines on sojourns after World War II. Many others now make an annual gastronomic tour, steered by the "stars" in restaurant guidebooks. Food and wine-producing areas have become tourist attractions. Enthusiasts take cooking lessons in Tuscan villas.

More modestly, a holiday is a chance to catch up with household chores, for a city worker to spend time in the kitchen, or for everyone to go on a picnic. People shift to a beach or mountain house to get away from the clamor of newspapers, television, and junk mail, and go fishing or hunting. Stressed workers still need time to read, to chat over coffee, to walk along the beach, to linger over meals, to philosophize into the night. Even more fundamentally, human beings need to keep in touch with the seasons. Given the range of the world's climates, clinging to the best local products is a force for difference.

See also Buddhism; Christianity; Christmas; Day of the Dead; Easter; Epiphany; Fasting and Abstinence; Feasts, Festivals, and Fasts; Hindu Festivals; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; Passover; Shrove Tuesday; Thanksgiving; Wedding Cake; Weddings.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Translated by Hélène Iswolsky. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1984.

Editors of Time-Life Books. Foods of the World. 27 volumes. New York: Time-Life Books, 19681971.

Holidays and Festivals. New York: Macmillan Library Reference, 1999.

Leach, Edmund. "Two Essays Concerning the Symbolic Representation of Time: (1) Cronus and Chronos (2) Time and False Noses." In Rethinking Anthropology, pp. 124136. London: Athlone Press, University of London Press, 1961.

Tun, Li-ch'ên. Annual Customs and Festivals in Peking. Translated by Derk Bodde. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1965.

Zerubavel, Eviatar. Hidden Rhythms: Schedules and Calendars in Social Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Michael Symons

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National Celebrations. An example of the growing sense of nationalism in the years after the Revolutionary War was in the holiday celebrations. Americans began to create and celebrate holidays that reflected the important events in their lives and history. Not all of the celebrations were national, and not all holidays were celebrated by the total population. During these years the government legislated some holidays to make them nationwide observances.

Washingtons Birthday. The first national holiday to be recognized was George Washingtons birthday. It was first celebrated near the end of the Revolutionary War in Richmond, Virginia, on 11 February 1782. The following year it was celebrated in Talbot Courthouse, Maryland; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and New York City. Since the nation was still undergoing a transition to the Gregorian Calendar, the date of Washingtons Birthday11 Februarywas changed to 22 February. By the time of Washingtons first term as president 22 February was the accepted day; the number of celebrations had also increased. It became a tradition to celebrate Washingtons Birthday by drinking thirteen toastsone for each of the original colonies. In 1790 Congress adjourned its New York session in order to extend him congratulations. This was followed in subsequent years, and in 1792, on Washingtons sixtieth birthday, there was a banquet for him in Philadelphia. However, in the following years political party affiliations began to affect the celebrations. After Washingtons death in 1799 Congress passed a resolution calling for the nation to observe 22 February 1800 with appropriate exercises. In the years to follow the celebration of the holiday became firmly established.

Independence Day. The Fourth of July became another American holiday in the postwar years. In 1783 it replaced 5 March, the day of the Boston Massacre (1770), as the day chosen to recognize American independence. It was usually celebrated with parades and speeches with the purpose of keeping the memory of the War of Independence alive. The idea of independence was also central to Bastille Day (14 July), which some Democrat-Republican societies observed during the 1790s.

Thanksgiving Day. In 1789 Thanksgiving Day was celebrated as a national holiday for the first time when, at the request of Congress, George Washington proclaimed 26 November a day of thanksgiving for the Constitution. Anti-Federalists opposed the resolution on the grounds that it violated states rights, but the opposition did not have much influence. In New England, Thanksgiving observances were celebrations of abundant harvests and were occasions for huge feasts. This was also a time of renewing kinship ties, and family members who had moved away traveled to be with family.

Columbus Day. Americans also felt the need to commemorate the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. The holiday was celebrated for the first time on 12 October 1792 under the auspices of the Society of St. Tammany Columbian Order of New York. On the same day the first memorial to Columbus was placed at Baltimore, Maryland.

African American Holidays. African Americans did not take an active part in national celebrations. They celebrated distinct holidays that were influenced by observances of the wider society but which had an African flavor. The holidays were distinctly African American in both the structure and style of the activities as noted by European American observers. It was their African-ness that connected and shaped the celebrations.

John Canoe Festival. In North Carolina, African Americans celebrated the John Canoe Festival held during Christmas. The celebrants paraded through town led by John Canoe, the king of the festival. As they danced through the streets singing and playing music, they would stop at the homes of prominent citizens where they would present a short play before continuing.

Election Day. In New England, African Americans celebrated Negro Election Day. This was a combination of the New England Election Day celebration and a practice by enslaved African Americans of honoring members of the community who had come from royal families in Africa. This five-day celebration included campaigning, election of a mayor and governor, an inaugural parade, and speeches.

Pinkster Festival. In New York both free and enslaved African Americans celebrated the Pinkster Festival. It was adopted from the Dutch celebration of the Pentecost and transformed into a celebration of African traditions with a parade led by elected royalty to a site where performances, music, and dancing took place. Pinkster was celebrated all along the Hudson River Valley and in Brooklyn, Long Island. New Jersey African Americans organized Pinkster festivals, but the most colorful and well-known was the one celebrated in Albany, New York. Albanys celebration included a carnival village where food was sold.

Christmas. The Americans celebrated Christmas in a variety of ways. In New England the celebration had been banned by the Puritans in the seventeenth century as they regarded Christmas as a pagan holiday. Even at the end of the American Revolution it was unusual to find Christmas observed in rural New England. In the rest of the United States, Christmas celebrations involved either visiting with family members or drunken revelry. A New York journalist in 1786 contrasted the two kinds of celebrations, as some spent the day decently feasting with friends and relatives, while others spent it reveling in profusion, and paying sincere devotion to merry Bacchus. In some cases the holiday revelers, such as the Boston Anticks, would invade homes, particularly those of wealthier citizens, singing bawdy songs such as a version of Yankee Doodle:

Christmas is a coming Boys,
Well go to Mother Chases,
And there well get a sugar dram [rum]
Sweetened with Molasses.
Heigh Ho for our Cape Cod,
Heigh Ho for our Nantasket,
Do not let the Boston wags
Feel your Oyster Basket.

The revelers demanded food and drink. Taverns often served free drinks on Christmas, a custom carried over from England. In New England, Christmas was not observed as a religious holiday. The Congregational Church had services on Sunday but not on Christmas. Only in 1789, with the advent of the Universalist Church, was Christmas celebrated by a New England Protestant denomination. Catholics had celebrated the holiday, but Christmas was less important on the liturgical calendar than Easter, which marked the beginning of the year. In fact, until the 1750s the British observed the New Year on 25 March. New England Unitarians in 1800 began a push to observe Christmas, provoking fierce opposition from more traditional Congregational-ists. The holiday reflected class divisions in American society. In many of the southern states the week between Christmas and New Years Day was given to the slaves for their one yearly vacation. This release from work was seen by the slaveholders as necessary to keep the slaves from rebelling, and during the week they supplied the slaves liberally with drink and gave them their annual supply of clothing. The freedom of the week actually reinforced the bondage of the slaves during the rest of the year. The planters were the distributors of gifts, the slaves the recipients. In the rest of the country there was a distinct difference in the way the lower and upper classes celebrated Christmas. The first decades of the century saw explosive growth in the city of New York, which had a population of thirty-three thousand in 1790 and over two hundred thousand by 1825. An influx of Irish and African Americans that had begun in the middle of the eighteenth century amid an expansion of New York commerce was making the city into the commercial capital of the nation. At Christmas the Irish and African Americans tended to have wild and disruptive celebrations. In the 1810s wealthier New Yorkers sought a way to bring these rowdy elements under control. One way of doing so was by incorporating their notions of the Christmas holiday into a more orderly and genteel tradition. In the 1820s New Yorker John Pintard, who had helped create Washingtons Birthday and the Fourth of July holidays, appropriated Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of Dutch New Amsterdam. Pintard in 1810 commissioned a broadside poster showing the Saint coming to either reward good children or punish bad children. It was quite a jump from this image of Saint Nicholas to the modern conception of Santa Claus, though he would be given a distinct character by Clement Clarke Moores 1822 poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. Neither trees nor presents, two distinctive features of modern Christmas celebrations, were part of the tradition in early America. Christmas trees were a feature mainly in the German city of Strasbourg and were not widely used elsewhere in Europe. Apparently the Strasbourg idea was spread by German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who wrote about the citys Christmas celebration in The Sufferings of Young Werther (1774). By the end of the century other German cities had begun to adopt Christmas trees, though the elite in Berlin did not do so until 1810. In 1798 English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge visited Germany, where he saw Christmas trees. His 1809 account of his journey began to spread the Christmas tree custom in Britain. German immigrants may have brought Christmas trees to America. The first recorded American Christmas tree was in 1820. Gift giving, as part of a general Christmas tradition, would not become a common custom until much later in the century.

Sources

Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 17901840 (New York: Harper, 1988);

Jacqui Malone, Steppin on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996);

Stephen Nissenbaum, The Battle for Christmas (New York: Knopf, 1997).

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Importance. Americans began celebrating various new national and regional holidays in the late nineteenth century. National civic holidays assumed the importance they did because the United States lacked a state religion and was growing more ethnically diverse. In addition, the wounds inflicted by the Civil War were still healing, and national holidays helped blur sectional differences even as regional holidays preserved them. Celebrations of these holidays were marked by parades, picnics, fireworks, carnivals, and speeches. Workers had the day off depending on the business they worked for and whether or not the holiday was recognized by the state or federal government.

Arbor Day. A traditional tree-planting festival originating in Nebraska, Arbor Day was the work of conservationist Julius Sterling Morton, who encouraged fellow Nebraskans to take note of the beauty of trees as well as their practical uses. Morton, a member of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and later secretary of agriculture under President Grover Cleveland, introduced a resolution in 1872 that 10 April be especially set apart and consecrated for tree planting in the state. More than a million trees were planted that year. Two years later, Nebraska issued a proclamation to celebrate Arbor Day within the state as a holiday; later, the legislature passed a resolution calling Nebraska The Tree Planters State (today it is better known as the Cornhusker or Beef State). In 1884 the state made it an annual event; the next year the state legislature passed an act designating 22 April, Mortons birthday, as the date on which Arbor Day would be celebrated as a legal holiday. Agricultural associations in other states soon petitioned their respective legislatures. At Ohios first Arbor Day in 1882, Cincinnati schoolchildren started a new tradition by planting the trees themselves. By 1900 most states and territories in the United States, as well as several foreign countries, observed Arbor Day, usually on the last Friday in April.

Memorial Day. Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was first observed on 25 April 1866 by the women of Columbus, Mississippi, to decorate the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers. In 1868 Gen. John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order establishing 30 May for strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion. Decorating graves quickly caught on in both the North and the South but on different days. For several years all commemorations remained unofficial, while ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery provided a national focus to these events. Ceremonies were soon extended to honor the dead of all wars, and the day became known as Memorial Day. First official recognition of Memorial Day as a holiday came in 1873 when New York State designated it a legal holiday. Within the next six years four other states made similar decrees. In 1887 the U.S. Congress made it an official holiday for federal employees.

Flag Day. The official U.S. flag was adopted on 14 June 1777 by a joint resolution of the Continental Congress that the flag of the thirteen states be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white with thirteen stars, white in a blue field. Tradition generally credits Betsy Ross with making the original Stars and Stripes at her Philadelphia home. The first Flag Day observance took place on 14 June 1861 when the people of Hartford, Connecticut, wanted to show their support for the Union during the opening days of the Civil War. These exercises were not repeated until 14 June 1877 when the celebration of Flag Day took place on the centennial of the flags adoption. On that day Congress ordered the flag flown over all government buildings. It was not declared a legal holiday but was observed by presidential proclamation. On 14 June 1893 Flag Day was observed in Philadelphia by a mayoral order that ordered the flag displayed over every public building in the city. Four years later, the governor of New York commanded that the flag be flown over all public structures on 14 June.

Labor Day. By the end of the nineteenth century the United States had become an industrial nation with tens of thousands of laborers. The idea for a day to honor labor was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire, a New York City carpenter and general secretary of the new Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and Matthew Maguire, a machinist from Paterson, New Jersey. The Central Labor Union endorsed their idea, and the first Labor Day celebration and parade, sponsored by the Knights of Labor, was held on 5 September 1882 in New York City, a date chosen by McGuire to fill the time gap between 4 July and Thanksgiving. Two years later the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (later the American Federation of Labor) endorsed the idea of an annual Labor Day, scheduled for the first Monday in September. On that day parades of workers were held in most northeastern cities; the idea was quickly endorsed by the Knights of Labor. In 1887 Oregon became the first of several states that established the first Monday in September as Labor Day. On 28 June 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September a legal holiday for federal employees and in the District of Columbia. All of the remaining states and Puerto Rico eventually legalized the day. With legal recognition of Labor Day, workers in the late 1890s and in the early 1900s used the holiday not only to honor their accomplishments but to proclaim their grievances. Labor Day celebrations were frequently marked not only by parades but by speeches and rallies in many industrial cities.

Other Observances. On New Years Day 1886, the Valley Hunt Club, Pasadena, California, held the first Tournament of Roses parade followed by athletic events. The birthdays of several distinguished Americans were also observed during this period. Abraham Lincoln, born on 12 February 1809 in central Kentucky, was a much admired president of the United States, but there was no official designation of his birthday until almost thirty years after his death. The Illinois legislature made it a legal holiday which was first observed on 12 February 1892. The legislatures of four other states (New Jersey,

New York, Washington, and Minnesota) followed suit in 1896 with the rest of the country instituting their own observances, many held on the first Monday in February. In the South holidays arose to honor two Confederate leaders. The birthday of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, was officially observed for the first time on 3 June 1892 in Florida. Eight other southern states adopted similar legislation before the turn of the century. The birthday of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, was also honored in the South. Georgia made his birthday (19 January) a legal holiday in 1889; Virginia followed the next year.

Sources

David Glassberg, American Historical Pageantry: The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990);

Jane M. Hatch, The American Book of Days, third edition (New York-Wilson, 1978);

Sue E. Thompson and Barbara W. Carlson, Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary (Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1994).

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holidays in their modern secular sense of days free from the demands of paid labour, but not necessarily channelled or confined by the demands of religious observance, are in many ways a product of industrial society, and the concomitant precise demarcation between work time and leisure time. Many older calendar customs survived into urban and industrial society, especially where craft industries persisted for a long time alongside the factories in the 19th cent. and migration flows were predominantly short-distance, as in the textile-manufacturing districts of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. Thus the Lancashire Wakes and the Yorkshire Tides and Feasts, along with similar customary holidays in the Black Country and the Potteries, survived through into the second half of the 20th cent., although increasingly removed from their origins as celebrations of the saint's day or anniversary of the foundation of the local parish church. National religious festivals, especially Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, also survived erosion from the apostles of economic rationality, order, and propriety between the late 18th and mid-19th cents. Christmas was remade in more secular and commercial form, with an array of imported and invented traditions such as the Christmas tree, greeting cards, robins, and Father Christmas, while many northern towns introduced the Whit walks at which religious congregations paraded the streets in competitive finery. The more political festival of Bonfire Night (5 November), part of the politico-religious calendar since the 17th cent., also continued as a widely observed red-letter day, although aspects of its celebration were toned down by local authorities anxious to uphold public order in the mid-Victorian years. Meanwhile, the secular and unofficial holiday of ‘St Monday’, abstention from work on the day following the weekend, was particularly popular among the better-paid craft workers and miners, and although it was systematically attacked by employers and moral reformers, playing havoc as it did with work schedules and family budgets, it proved difficult to extirpate, especially among workers in heavy, hot industries who were paid well by the shift, and it survived strongly in coal-mining in the late 20th cent.

Holidays in the sense of extended periods away from home in pursuit of health and pleasure in enjoyably different surroundings were emerging as a regular practice among the better-off by the later 17th cent. Bath led the way among the spa towns, and the emergence of seaside resorts from the 1730s encouraged an opening-out of the market, as London shopkeepers flocked to Margate cheaply by sailing vessel and also found their way to Brighton. Fashions for cultural and scenic tourism emerged in the late 18th cent. and began to percolate down the social scale. But the holiday away from home as a popular and commercial phenomenon (as opposed to such activities as returning to one's home village to help with the harvest) was mainly a product of the railway age. At working-class level such holidays were almost always unpaid, and they emerged first as a genuinely popular phenomenon in northern England, where the customary Wakes holidays (especially in the Lancashire cotton towns) were adapted for extended seaside visits from the 1850s and especially the 1870s, and families saved through the year in special clubs to be able to afford them. The Bank Holiday Acts of 1871 and 1875, which came to guarantee four free Mondays in the year including the first Monday in August, were of no importance here, although they did help to open out summer holiday opportunities in parts of the country where the older holidays had not survived. Paid holidays for manual workers before the First World War were offered by only a few paternalistic or enlightened employers, and although they spread gradually through the inter-war years a compulsory Holidays with Pay Act was not passed until 1938, and did not become effective until after the Second World War, when English seaside resorts had a particularly prosperous couple of decades, before generally failing to meet the challenge of new opportunities and new destinations.

John K. Walton

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"holidays." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holidays

holiday

holiday [altered from holy day], day set aside for the commemoration of an important event. Holidays are often accompanied by public ceremonies, such as parades and carnivals, and by religious observances; they may also be simply a time for relaxation. Days of commemoration are observed throughout the world, e.g., Bastille Day in France, May Day in Russia, and the New Year in China. National holidays are observed throughout a country and are considered legal if proclaimed by the central government. In the United States the state governments have jurisdiction over the celebration of holidays, except with regard to federal employees and agencies. On legal holidays banks and schools are closed and business transactions are restricted. New Year's Day, Presidents Day (a combined observance of George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays that occurs near the date of Washington's birthday), the Fourth of July (Independence Day), Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day are legal holidays observed by all the states. Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Memorial Day, Election Day, Columbus Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday are legal holidays in most states. Many special occasions are observed by single states or by a group of states, such as Patriots' Day (in Massachusetts and Maine) and the Confederate Memorial Day. In 1971 the U.S. Congress created several three-day weekends for federal employees by proclaiming that certain holidays be observed on Monday regardless of their actual dates. Holidays now celebrated on Monday in most states include Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. For religious holidays, see feast. See also bank holidays.

See E. M. Deems, ed., Holy-days and Holidays (1902, repr. 1968); R. J. Myers, Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays (1972).

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"holiday." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"holiday." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holiday

"holiday." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holiday

Holiday

HOLIDAY

A day of recreation; a consecrated day; a day set apart for the suspension of business.

A legal holiday is a day set aside by statute for recreation, the cessation of work, or religious observance. It is a day that is legally designated as exempt from the conduct of all judicial proceedings, service of process, and the demand and protest of commercial paper. A prohibition against conducting public business transactions on holidays does not, however, have an effect upon private business. Private transactions will not, therefore, be invalidated solely because they are conducted on a holiday.

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"Holiday." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Holiday." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/law/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holiday

holiday

holiday religious festival; day of cessation from work. OE. hāliġdæġ, late hālidæiġ; also as two words inflected, HOLY DAY.

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"holiday." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"holiday." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holiday-1

holiday

holidayAllende, duende •Wednesday •heyday, mayday, payday •bidet • weekday • Halliday • holiday •Friday • Hobday • washday • Corday •magna cum laude, summa cum laude •Daudet, démodé •noonday • Tuesday •Domesday, doomsday •Yaoundé • someday •Monday, sundae, Sunday •Muscadet • workaday • faraday •Saturday • yesterday • workday •birthday • Thursday

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"holiday." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"holiday." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holiday