History of Holidays

History of Holidays

Many of the holiday traditions celebrated in the United States are based on holidays and events in other parts of the world. Many of the holiday characters we associate with holidays today were real people that are now eternally celebrated. If you enjoy history and celebrating holidays, here are some destinations to consider!

St. Nicholas, the third century saint, is the inspiration for Santa as he is the patron saint of children. St. Nicholas is celebrated every year on December 5th in the Czech Republic and is marked by a giant feast day.

St. Lucia is another saint that is honored during the holiday season. St. Lucia was a Christian martyr who is the patron saint of those who are blind – hence why girls wear wreaths with candles or stars on their heads during the celebration day. It is observed on December 13th in Sweden, Norway, and parts of Finland.

The tradition of hanging mistletoe dates back to the Celtic Druids and by the Norse. The evergreen trees were symbolic of eternal life and rebirth. However, using these were banned because of their associations. Another famous Christmas item is the candy cane, which can be dated back to Europe around 1670. In parts of Mexico, a holiday favorite is the piñata, and the celebration of Christmas lasts for nine days.

Celebrating the New Year is also a world-wide tradition. In Ecuador, residents write a list of their faults and mistakes, and burn it along with a man made of straw. China celebrates New Year for a total of thirteen days, and includes dragon dances, fireworks, and giving children red envelopes called “hongbao” with money inside.  The Chinese New Year does not start on January 1st with the modern calendar like other parts of the world; it coincides with the lunar calendar.

Another holiday celebrated in parts of Europe and England is the Winter Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year, and celebrated with candles, bonfires, and chanting requesting the return of the sun. Another English holiday celebrated is Twelfth Night and Epiphany which takes place on January 6th. This is when families remove holiday decorations and eat cakes.

Jessie Curry
Jessie Curry

Jessie Curry – Jessie is a recent 2018 graduate of University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Theatre department and regularly stage manages and acts in theatre productions in Omaha. She grew up as a Navy kid, living in Sicily and Japan, and traveling everywhere in between. Her favorite part of going to a new destination was the new food she could try. Some of her favorite memories include traveling and making flight attendants and pilots laugh.  Jessie serves as AurTravel’s administrative assistant and runs their social media accounts.

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