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Festivals & Holidays

The commemoration of many events—religious, agricultural, or sociocultural—helps to keep traditions alive, while at the same time it unifies the participants in the celebratory spirit of a holiday, feast, or anniversary. In a similar manner, local and international exhibitions, festivals, and fairs unite people with similar causes, interests, or beliefs. They are cultural phenomena that reflect the faith, habits, and traditions of the participants.

Festivals & Holidays Encyclopedia Articles

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World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day, annual observance held on February 4 that is intended to increase global awareness of cancer. World Cancer Day originated in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris. At this meeting, leaders of government agencies and cancer organizations from around...
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cancer awareness
Remembrance Sunday
Remembrance Sunday, in the United Kingdom, holiday held on the second Sunday of November that commemorates British service members who have died in wars and other military conflicts since the onset of World War I. By tradition, a two-minute period of silence is observed throughout the country at 11...
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Remembrance Sunday
Gay Pride
Gay Pride, annual celebration, usually in June in the United States and sometimes at other times in other countries, of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) identity. Gay Pride commemorates the Stonewall riots, which began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, after police raided...
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Gay Pride: Romania 2009
Holocaust remembrance days
Holocaust remembrance days, international commemoration of the millions of victims of Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies. The commemoration, observed on different days in different countries, often marks the victims’ efforts at resistance and concentrates on contemporary efforts to battle hatred and...
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Independence Day
Independence Day, in the United States, the annual celebration of nationhood. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The Congress had voted in favour of independence from Great Britain on July 2 but did not actually complete the...
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Declaration of Independence, oil on canvas by John Trumbull, 1818, for the rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. The members of the Continental Congress signed the declaration in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.
World Heart Day
World Heart Day, annual observance and celebration held on September 29 that is intended to increase public awareness of cardiovascular diseases, including their prevention and their global impact. In 1999 the World Heart Federation (WHF), in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO),...
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St. Nicholas Day
St. Nicholas Day, feast day (December 6) of St. Nicholas, the 4th-century bishop of Myra. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia and Greece, of a number of cities, and of sailors and children, among many other groups, and was noted for his generosity. Some countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day...
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St. Nicholas
Halloween
Halloween, a holiday observed on October 31, the evening before All Saints’ (or All Hallows’) Day. The celebration marks the day before the Western Christian feast of All Saints and initiates the season of Allhallowtide, which lasts three days and concludes with All Souls’ Day. In much of Europe...
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Halloween
World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day, annual observance aimed at raising awareness of the global epidemic of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and the spread of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). World AIDS Day occurs on December 1 and was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988 to facilitate...
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The red AIDS ribbon.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, international health campaign lasting the month of October that is intended to increase global awareness of breast cancer. In the United States the monthlong campaign is known as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The first organized effort to bring widespread...
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A pink ribbon symbolizing breast cancer awareness.
Christmas
Christmas, Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. The English term Christmas (“mass on Christ’s day”) is of fairly recent origin. The earlier term Yule may have derived from the Germanic jōl or the Anglo-Saxon geōl, which referred to the feast of the winter solstice. The corresponding...
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Giotto: The Nativity
Labor Day
Labor Day, in the United States and Canada, holiday (first Monday in September) honouring workers and recognizing their contributions to society. In many other countries May Day serves a similar purpose. In the United States, Peter J. McGuire, a union leader who had founded the United Brotherhood...
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Norwich University cadets in a Labor Day parade, Northfield, Vt.
New Year festival
New Year festival, any of the social, cultural, and religious observances worldwide that celebrate the beginning of the new year. Such festivals are among the oldest and the most universally observed. The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 bce in Mesopotamia, where...
Encyclopedia / Festivals & Holidays
Fireworks, confetti, and a cheering crowd greeting the new year in Times Square, New York City, January 1, 2007.
Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day, annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag...
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Jean Leon Gerome Ferris: The First Thanksgiving
International Nurses Day
International Nurses Day, annual observance held on May 12 that commemorates the birth in 1820 of Florence Nightingale, the foundational philosopher of modern nursing. The event, established in 1974 by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), also serves to highlight the important role nurses...
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nursing

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