These are some of the principal religious and cultural festivals and holidays celebrated in English-speaking countries and around the world.

The word "holiday" comes from "holy day". The word "holy" means "dedicated to God" or "for a religious purpose" (for example "the Holy Bible", "the holy month of Ramadan"). Today, of course, many holidays have no connection with religion, but the origin of the word was religious.

April Fool's Day

1 April
A day for playing tricks and practical jokes on other people


Usually during February
A festive season of intense partying, dancing and parading

Chinese New Year

Begins late January or early February
A traditional festival at the turn of the Chinese year


25 December - 5 January
Traditionally a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ


Late March or early April
Christian holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Guy Fawkes Night

5 November
A British festival commemorating the failure of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot


12th month of the Islamic lunar year
Muslim pilgrimage (special journey) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia

New Year's Day

1 January
Tomorrow is Another Year - please add your thoughts here

The first day of the year in the Gregorian (Western) calendar


9th month of the Islamic lunar year
A month of fasting for Muslims

Valentine's Day

14 February
An occasion for expressing romantic love by giving cards and gifts

Contributor: Josef Essberger