Holidays refers to the day set apart for religious observance or for the commemoration of some extraordinary event or distinguished person. Holidays are characterized by a partial or total stoppage commemoration of work and normal business activities and are generally accompanied by public and private ceremonies, including feasting, parades and carnivals, or displays of flags and speechmaking.
Originally, in ancient times, holidays were predominantly religious in character and linked to natural events such as the annual course of the sun or the phases of the moon. The word “holiday”, in fact, is derived from “holy day”. Subsequently, secular holidays commemorating historical occasions or distinguished persons outnumbered holy days, although many ancient religious rituals and customs have been carried over into modern times and incorporated into both secular and religious observations. Today, the outstanding holiday is one of religious observance and abstention from normal work routines, taking place on Sunday for Christians, Friday for Muslims, and Saturday for Jews. In the
National holidays are days set aside by official government proclamation to celebrate such occasions as the achievement of independence, the founding of the nation, the adoption of a constitution, the birthday of the ruler, or the national patron saint’s day.
In order to give federal employees three-day weekends, a 1968 federal law made several changes in dates of holiday observances, effective in 1971: Washington’s Birthday now falls on the third Monday in February; Memorial Day, on the last Monday in May; Columbus Day, on the second Monday in October; and Veterans Days, on the fourth Monday in October. Individual states later adopted these Monday holidays.
A number of states commemorate important events in their history. In
American Revolution, is commemorated annually on August 16; in Louisiana the Battle of New Orleans of the War of 1812 is commemorated on January 8; Patriot’s Day, commemorating the first battle of the American Revolution, is celebrated on or about April
Answer the following questions.
1. How is the word “holiday” defined on Paragraph 1?
2. What characterized holidays in ancient times? And how are they in character today?
3. For what places does the
4. For Thanksgiving, what do the federal government and the states do respectively?
5. What did the 1968 federal law ( taking effect in 1971 ) state about dates of holiday observance?
6. What does the last paragraph mainly talk about?