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Holidays in Malaysia

Holidays in Malaysia




National holidays

Awal Muharram (Maal Hijrah)

The Islamic New Year is a cultural event which Muslims observe on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims use the day to remember the significance of this month, and the Hijra, or migration, Islamic prophet Muhammad made to the city now known as Medina. Recently, in many areas of Muslim population, people have begun exchanging cards and gifts on this day, though this is not commonly done. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Muharram migrates throughout the seasons. The estimated start dates for Muharram are as follows (all future dates are estimates and depend on sightings of the new moon), though strictly speaking the month


Thaipusam

Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (Jan/Feb). Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates both the birthday of Lord Murugan (also Subramaniam), the youngest son of Shiva and Parvati, and the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a vel (lance) so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman.

Origin:

The origin of Lord Skanda, the purpose of His avatara and its significance are of much importance to all seekers after Truth. During the battle between the Asuras and the Devas, the latter were defeated several times by the former. The Devas were unable to resist the onslaught of the Asuric forces.

In despair, they approached Lord Siva and entreated to give them an able leader under whose heroic leadership they might obtain victory over the Asuras. They surrendered themselves completely and prayed to Lord Siva sincerely. The gracious Lord granted their request by creating mighty divine warrior, Lord Skanda, out of his own power or Achintya Sakti. This great son of Lord Siva at once assumed leadership of the celestial forces, originated them, inspired them and attacked the asuric forces. The asuras were routed and a glorious victory was gained by the Devas.

Kavadi:

Generally people take a vow to offer a kavadi to the Lord for purpose of tiding over or averting a great calamity. For instance, if the devotee's son is laid up with a fatal disease, he would pray to Shanmuga to grant the boy a lease of life in return for which the devotee would take a vow to dedicate a kavadi to Him. Though this might on the face of it appear mercenary, a moment's reflection will reveal that it contains in it the seed of love for God. The worldly object is achieved: and the devotee offers the kavadi. After the ceremony is over, he gets so much intoxicated with love of God that his inner spiritual chamber is opened. This too ultimately leads to Para Bhakti -Supreme devotion. Thaipusam burdens Vel kavadi

Origins of Kavadi:

The kavadi itself is steeped in mythology. At Mount Kailas, Lord Shiva entrusted the dwarf saint sage Agastya with two hillocks, with instructions to carry and install them in South India. But the sage left them in a forest and later asked his disciple, Idumban to get them. Idumban found the two hillocks, but could not initially lift them, until he obtained divine help. Near Palani in South India – where to this day there is a famous shrine of Murugan — Idumban put the hillocks down to rest awhile.

When he attempted to continue with his journey, he found that the hillocks were immovable. Idumban sought the help of a scantily dressed youth, but the youth claimed the hillocks belonged to him. In the ensuing scuffle, Idumban was defeated. Idumban then realised that the youth was Lord Murugan. Idumban pleaded to be pardoned and asked that anyone who comes to the hills to worship Murugan with an object similar to the two hillocks suspended by a rod, may be granted his heart’s desire. Idumban’s wish was granted. And so the kavadi came to play its role in Hindu festivals.Ethnic Chinese partaking in the celebration.

Preparations:

Devotees prepare for the celebration by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting. Kavadi-bearers have to perform elaborate ceremonies at the time of assuming the kavadi and at the time of offering it to Lord Murugan. The kavadi-bearer observes celibacy and take only pure, Satvik food, once a day, while continuously thinking of God.On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common. The simplest kavadi is a semi circular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders, to the temple. In addition, some have a little spear through their tongue, or a spear through the cheeks.

The spear pierced through his tongue or cheeks reminds him constantly of Lord Murugan. It also prevents him from speaking and gives great power of endurance. Other types of kavadi involve hooks stuck into the back and either pulled by another walking behind or being hung from a decorated bullock cart or more recently a tractor, with the point of incisions of the hooks varying the level of pain. The greater the pain the more god-earned merit.Kavadi The most spectacular practice is the vel kavadi, essentially a portable altar up to two meters tall, decorated with peacock feathers and attached to the devotee through 108 vels pierced into the skin on the chest and back. Fire walking and flagellation may also be practiced. It is claimed that devotees are able to enter a trance, feel no pain, do not bleed from their wounds and have no scars left behind. However, some of the more extreme masochistic practices have been criticized as dangerous and contrary to the spirit and intention of Hinduism.


Mawlid

mawlidu n-nabiyyi, “Birth of the Prophet”, Standard Arabic:mawlid an-nabi, sometimes simply called in colloquial Arabic, mawlid, múlid, mulud, milad among other vernacular pronunciations is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.The origins of the observance can be traced back to the Fatimid dynasty in eleventh century Egypt, four centuries after the death of Muhammad, as a Shia ruling class festival. The term Mawlid is also used in some parts of the world, such as Egypt, as a generic term for the birthday celebrations of other historical religious figures such as Sufi saints.


Labour Day

Labour Day is an annual holiday celebrated all over the world that resulted from efforts of the labour union movement, to celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers. The majority of countries celebrate Labour Day on May 1, and it is popularly known as May Day and International Workers' Day. Labour Day Parade in Toronto in the early 1900s The celebration of Labour Day has its origins in the eight hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.


Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxi húxì in Taiwan. It literally means "Year-pass Eve". Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,

Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, largely by overseas Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional culture of these countries. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates. Although the Chinese calendar traditionally did not use continuously numbered years, its years are now often numbered from the reign of Huangdi outside China. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various writers, causing the year beginning in 2008 to be 4706, 4705, or 4645.

Festivitie:

Red couplets and red lanterns are displayed on the door frames and light up the atmosphere. The air is filled with strong Chinese emotions. In stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, and other cities, products of traditional Chinese style have started to lead fashion trend[s]. Buy yourself a Chinese-style coat, get your kids tiger-head hats and shoes, and decorate your home with some beautiful red Chinese knots, then you will have an authentic Chinese-style Spring Festival. Xinwen Lianbo, January 2001, quoted by Li Ren,

Imagining China in the Era of Global Consumerism and Local Consciousness The Chinese New Year celebrations are marked by visits to kin, relatives and friends, a practice known as "new-year visits. New clothings are usually worn to signify a new year. The colour red is liberally used in all decorations. Red packets are given to juniors and children by the married and elders. See Symbolism below for more explanation. All these festivities may vary from region to region and from family to family.

Days before the new year:

On the days before the New Year celebration Chinese families give their home a thorough cleaning. There is a Cantonese saying "Wash away the dirts on ninyabaat", but the practice is not usually restricted on nin'ya'baat(the 28th day of month 12). It is believed the cleaning sweeps away the bad luck of the preceding year and makes their homes ready for good luck. Brooms and dust pans are put away on the first day so that luck cannot be swept away. Some people give their homes, doors and window-panes a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with paper cutouts of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets. Purchasing new clothing, shoes and receiving a hair-cut also symbolize a fresh start .

In many households where Buddhism or Taoism is prevalent, home altars and statues are cleaned thoroughly, and altars that were adorned with decorations from the previous year are also taken down and burned a week before the new year starts, and replaced with new decorations. A paper effigy of the Kitchen God, the recorder of family functions, is also burned in order to report to the Jade Emperor of the family household's transgressions and good deeds. The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. It is for display for the New Year's Eve dinner.

This meal is comparable to Christmas dinner in the West. In northern China, it is customary to make dumplings after dinner and have it around midnight. Dumplings symbolize wealth because their shape is like a Chinese tael. By contrast, in the South, it is customary to make a new year cake (Niangao) after dinner and send pieces of it as gifts to relatives and friends in the coming days of the new year. Niangao literally means increasingly prosperous year in year out. After the dinner, some families go to local temples, hours before the new year begins to pray for a prosperous new year; however in modern practice, many households hold parties and even hold a countdown to the new lunar year. Beginning in the 1980s, the CCTV New Year's Gala was broadcast minutes before the start of the New Year. Chinese New Year fireworks in Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

First day of the new year:

The first day is for the welcoming of the deities of the heavens and earth, officially beginning at midnight. Many people, especially Buddhists, abstain from meat consumption on the first day because it is believed that this will ensure longevity for them. Some consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck on New Year's Day, so all food to be consumed is cooked the day before. Most importantly, the first day of Chinese New Year is a time when families visit the oldest and most senior members of their extended family, usually their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. Some families may invite a lion dance troupe as a symbolic ritual to usher in the Lunar New Year as well as to evict bad spirits from the premises. Members of the family who are married also give red packets containing cash to junior members of the family, mostly children and teenagers.

While fireworks and firecrackers are traditionally very popular, some regions have banned them due to concerns over fire hazards, which have resulted in increased number of fires around New Years and challenged municipal fire departments' work capacity. For this reason, various city governments (e.g., Hong Kong, and Beijing, for a number of years) issued bans over fireworks and firecrackers in certain premises of the city. As a substitute, large-scale fireworks have been launched by governments in cities like Hong Kong to offer citizens the experience.

Second day of the new year:

Incense is burned at the graves of ancestors as part of the offering and prayer ritual. The second day of the Chinese New Year is for married daughters to visit their birth parents. Traditionally, daughters who have been married may not have the opportunity to visit their birth families frequently. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. They are extra kind to dogs and feed them well as it is believed that the second day is the birthday of all dogs. Business people of the Cantonese dialect group will hold a 'Hoi Nin' prayer to start their business on the 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The prayer is done to pray that they will be blessed with good luck and prosperity in their business for the year.

Third and fourth days of the new year:

The third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year are generally accepted as inappropriate days to visit relatives and friends due to the following schools of thought. People may subscribe to one or both thoughts.

1) It is known as "chì kou", meaning that it is easy to get into arguments. It is suggested that the cause could be the fried food and visiting during the first two days of the New Year celebration.

2) Families who had an immediate kin deceased in the past 3 years will not go house-visiting as a form of respect to the dead. The third day of the New Year is allocated to grave-visiting instead. Some people conclude it is inauspicious to do any house visiting at all.

Fifth day of the new year:

In northern China, people eat Jiaozi(dumplings) on the morning of Po Wu. This is also the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth. In Taiwan, businesses traditionally re-open on this day, accompanied by firecrackers.

Seventh day of the new year:

The seventh day, traditionally known as renri, the common man's birthday, the day when everyone grows one year older. It is the day when tossed raw fish salad, yusheng, is eaten. This is a custom primarily among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore. People get together to toss the colourful salad and make wishes for continued wealth and prosperity. For many Chinese Buddhists, this is another day to avoid meat. Chinese New Year's celebrations, on the eighth day, in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

Ninth day of the new year:

The ninth day of the New Year is a day for Chinese to offer prayers to the Jade Emperor of Heaven in the Taoist Pantheon. The ninth day is traditionally the birthday of the Jade Emperor. This day is especially important to Hokkiens and Teochews Come midnight of the eighth day of the new year, Hokkiens will offer thanks giving prayers to the Emperor of Heaven. Offerings will include sugarcane as it was the sugarcane that had protected the Hokkiens from certain extermination generations ago. Tea is served as a customary protocol for paying respect to an honored person.

Fifteenth day of the new year:

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuánxiao jié, otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplingsTangyuan , a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns. This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

New year cuisine:

Niangao, Chinese New Year cake A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far away, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish. In some areas, fish is included, but not eaten completely (and the remainder is stored overnight), as the Chinese phrase "may there be surpluses every year" sounds the same as "may there be fish every year."

In mainland China, many families will banter whilst watching the CCTV New Year's Gala in the hours before midnight. Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things.


Vesak

Vesak is an annual holiday observed by practicing Buddhists in many Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, and also Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In Mahayana Buddhist traditions, the holiday is known by its Sanskrit equivalent, Vaisakha. The word Vesak itself is the Sinhalese language word for the Pali variation, "Vesakha". Vesak is also known as Visaka Bochea in Cambodia, Visakah Puja, Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, Visakha Bucha in Thailand,

Waisak in Indonesia, Vesak (Wesak) in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, in Chinese-speaking countries, and Saga Dawa in Tibet. The equivalent festival in Laos is called Vixakha Bouxa and in Myanmar is called Ka-sone-la-pyae meaning Fullmoon Day of Kasone which is also the second month of the Myanmar Calendar. The exact date of Vesak varies according to the various lunar calendars used in different traditions. In Theravada countries following the Buddhist calendar, it falls on the full moon Uposatha day (typically the 5th or 6th lunar month).

In China it is the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, coinciding with the first full moon of that month. The date varies from year to year in the Western Gregorian calendar but falls in April or May. Sometimes informally called "Buddha's birthday," it actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment Nirvana, and passing (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha.

History:

The decision to agree to celebrate Vesak as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition. The Resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as follows: “That this Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, while recording its appreciation of the gracious act of His Majesty,

The Maharaja of Nepal in making the full-moon day of Vesak a Public Holiday in Nepal, earnestly requests the Heads of Governments of all countries in which large or small number of Buddhists are to be found, to take steps to make the full-moon day in the month of May a Public Holiday in honour of the Buddha, who is universally acclaimed as one of the greatest benefactors of Humanity.” On Vesak Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. As Buddhism spread from India it was assimilated into many foreign cultures, and consequently Vesak is celebrated in many different ways all over the world.


Birthday

Birthday is the name given to the date of the anniversary of a person's birth. People in many cultures celebrate this anniversary. In some languages, the word for birthday literally translates as "anniversary". Birthdays are traditionally marked by celebrations including a birthday party or, in some particular cases, a rite of transition.Celebration

Birthday cake:

Main article Birthday cake The birthday cake is traditionally highly decorated, and typically covered with lit candles when presented, the number of candles signifying the age of the celebrant. The person whose birthday it is may make a silent wish and then blow out the candles. It is also customary for the person celebrating their birthday to cut the initial piece of the cake as a newlywed couple might with a wedding cake.

Birthday cakes date back as far as the Middle Ages when the English would conceal symbolic items such as gold coins, rings and thimbles inside their cakes. Each item was associated with a prediction. For example, a person finding a gold coin in a birthday cake would supposedly become wealthy; a person discovering a thimble would never marry. Sometimes special candles are substituted for the many individual candles in the shape of a numeral. For example, on the fifth birthday, there may be one candle on the cake in the shape of the numeral five, and on the fiftieth birthday there may be two candles on the cake, one in the shape of the numeral five followed by the other in the shape of the number zero.

Traditions:

In addition to parties, it is common for people to receive gifts on their birthdays. There are also traditions of surprise parties.However, sometimes it is expected of the person celebrating their birthday to treat their party guests instead; this varies depending on the local culture and may involve party gifts or other gestures. In most English-speaking countries it is traditional to sing the song Happy Birthday to You to the honored person celebrating a birthday. The Happy Birthday song has been rumored to be the most frequently sung melody in the world. Similar songs exist in other languages such as "Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le" in Mandarin Chinese, "Lang zal hij/zij leven" in Dutch, "Õnne soovime Sul" in Estonian,

"Zum Geburtstag Viel Glück" in German, "Que los cumplas feliz" or "Feliz cumpleaños a tí" in Spanish, "Parabéns a você" in Portuguese, "Maligayang Bati" in Filipino, "Sto lat" in Polish, "Lá Bhreithe Shona Duit" in Irish, "Ja ma du leva" or "Med en enkel tulipan" in Swedish, "Joyeux Anniversaire" in French, "Tanti Auguri a te" in Italian and "Iyi ki dogdun, Mutlu Yillar Sana" in Turkish. This song is a common greeting used on birthdays, along with greeting cards and verbal greetings with messages such as "I wish you a happy Birthday" or "Happy Birthday."

Birthdays in the legal system:

A birthday cake:

In most legal systems, one becomes a legal adult on a particular birthday (often 18th or 21st), and at different ages gains different rights and responsibilities — voting, certain drug use (for example, alcohol, purchasing tobacco), eligibility for military draft or voluntary enlistment, purchasing lottery tickets, vehicle driving licences,

Many cultures have one or more coming of age birthdays:

Jewish boys have a bar mitzvah on or around their 13th birthday. Jewish girls observe a bat tzvah on or around their 12th birthday, or sometimes on or around their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism. In some Christian traditions, generally Catholic and Anglican, Confirmation is the ritual by which a young person receives a Sacrament thought to bestow certain gifts of the Holy Spirit. The timing of the reception of this Sacrament serves, on a sociological level, as a sort of "rite of passage" into adulthood.In Latin America the quinceañera celebration traditionally marks a girl's 15th birthday. Some girls and a few boys in the United States have "sweet sixteen" birthday parties. In the United Kingdom 18th and 21st are traditional coming of age birthdays. In many Asian countries, the 14th birthday is celebrated as the day one becomes a Many Filipino girls celebrate their 18th birthdays with a cotillion and debutante ball, commonly known as a debut. The birthdays of historically significant people, like national heroes or founders, are often commemorated by an official holiday. Some saints are remembered by a liturgical feast (sometimes on a presumed birthday). By analogy, the Latin term Dies natalis is applied to the anniversary of an institution (such as a university). A person's Golden or Grand Birthday, more commonly referred to as the "Star Birthday"occurs when they turn the age of their birth day (i.e. when someone born on the 12th of the month turns 12).


Hari Merdeka

Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) is a national day of Malaysia commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule, celebrated on August 31. In a wider context, it is to celebrate the formation of Malaysia Malaya Independence The effort for independence was spearheaded by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, who led a delegation of ministers and political leaders of Malaya in negotiations with the British in London for Merdeka, or independence along with the first president of the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) Tun Dato Sir Tan Cheng Lock and fifth President of Malaysian Indian Congress Tun V.T. Sambanthan.Once it became increasingly clear that the Communist threat posed during the Malayan Emergency was petering out,agreement was reached on February 8, 1956, for Malaya to gain independence from the British Empire.However, for a number of logistical and administrative reasons,it was decided that the official proclamation of independence would only be made the next year, on August 31, 1957, at Stadium Merdeka (ndependence Stadium), in Kuala Lumpur.


Diwali

Diwali, or Deepavali, (also called Tihar and Swanti in Nepal) (Markiscarali) is a major Indian and Nepalese festival,and a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism.Many legends are associated with Diwali.Today it is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs across the globe as the "Festival of Light," where the lights or lamps signify victory of good over the evil within every human being .The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists of Nepal, particularly the Newar Buddhists.According to one theory Diwali may have originated as a harvest festival,marking the last harvest of the year before winter.In an agrarian society this results in businessmen closing accounts,and beginning a new accounting year. The deity of wealth in Hinduism,goddess Lakshmi is therefore thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead.This is the common factor in Diwali celebrations all over the Indian subcontinent.In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest.

The people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa),thus its name, Deepawali, or simply shortened as Diwali. Southern India marks it as the day Lord Krishna efeated the demon Narakasura.In western India it is also in honor of the day King Bali went to rule the nether-world by the order of Vishnu. (There is another festival 'Onam' which is celebrated in Kerala around the month of August to mark this legend) Diwali is celebrated on the first day of the lunar Kartika month,which comes in the month of October or November.In Jainism it marks the nirvana of Lord Mahavira, which occurred on October 15, 527 BCE. The Sikhs celebrate Diwali for a different reason;on this day, the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji,was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well.after his release he went to Darbar Sahib (golden temple) in the holy city of Amritsar.There, he was greeted by Sikhs and many other people. In happiness they lit candles and diyas to greet the Guru.In India, Diwali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians regardless of faith


Eid ul-Fitr

Eid ul-Fitr or Id-ul-Fitr, often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fitr means "to break the fast" (and can also mean "nature", from the word "fitrah"); and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated starting on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal. Eid ul-Fitr is a three day celebration and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the "Greater Eid".Muslims are commanded by the Qur'an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid


Christmas

Christmas, also referred to as Christmas Day or Christmastide, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.His birth, which is the basis for the Anno Domini system of dating,has been determined by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC.The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth, and may have been chosen to coincide with ancient Roman solar festivals that were held on December 25.Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving,church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree,lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly.Santa Claus, also referred to as Father Christmas, is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas.Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology,and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival.The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States,where it is celebrated by 96% of the population


Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims and Druze worldwide as a commemoration of God's forgiveness of Ibrahim (Abraham) from his vow to sacrifice his son,as commanded by Allah. (Muslim tradition names Ishmael as the son who was to be sacrificed,whereas the Judeo-Christian tradition names Isaac.) It is one of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran.(Muslims in Iran celebrate a third, non-denominational Eid.) Like Eid el-Fitr,Eid ul-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon .Eid ul-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for two to three days or more depending on the country. Eid ul-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj,the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide,descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.