Major Holidays Around the World

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

Holidays are a time for celebration and gathering with family and friends. This lesson will take a look at major holidays that are celebrated around the world, and provide a brief description of the significance of each one.


There's a certain type of magic that we associate with the celebration of holidays. Remember that feeling of waking up on Christmas morning and rushing to see the presents under the tree? Or receiving your first Valentine's card? Holidays are a special time of year that most of us build family traditions around, and there are many different types of holidays celebrated around the world.

We have national and federal holidays such as a country's Independence Day, religious holidays that are specific to someone's religious beliefs, and general holidays such as Mother's Day, Father's Day, and even Grandparents Day. Let's take a look at some major holidays and how they are celebrated around the world.


National and Federal World Holidays

National and federal holidays are holidays that are recognized by an entire nation. In general, businesses and government entities close on these holidays, and most workers are given time off to celebrate. Many of these holidays are associated with when a country gained its independence. In the United States, for example, the Fourth of July is celebrated as Independence Day. It marks the day in 1776 when the United States gained its independence from Great Britain. The following are some examples of national and federal holidays recognized around the world:

  • Bastille Day- celebrated in France on July 14th - celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution and the eventual independence of France.
  • Liberation Day - celebrated in Italy on April 25th, Liberation Day celebrates the day Italy was liberated from Nazi rule in 1945.
  • Triumph of the Revolution - on January 1, 1959, all of Cuba celebrates the victory of Fidel Castro.
  • Queen's Day/King's Day - celebrated on the current Queen or King's birthday in the Netherlands. Currently King's Day, the holiday is celebrated on April 27th.

Religious Holidays Around the World

Religious holidays are celebrated all over the world as well. Although some religious holidays may be observed by many different nations, it does not always mean the holidays are celebrated in the same way. Cultural customs and traditions often determine the way in which religious holidays are observed. The following are some of the major religious holidays commonly celebrated around the world:

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