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Portal:Holidays

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Introduction

A holiday is a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance. Holidays may be designated by governments, religious institutions, or other groups or organizations. The degree to which normal activities are reduced by a holiday may depend on local laws, customs, the type of job held or personal choices.

The concept of holidays often originated in connection with religious observances or associated with traditions. The intention of a holiday was typically to allow individuals to tend to religious duties associated with important dates on the calendar. In most modern societies, however, holidays serve as much of a recreational functions as any other weekend days or activities. (Full article...)

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Lightmatter burningman.jpg

Burning Man is an eight-day-long festival organized by Black Rock City, LLC, under the guidance of founder Larry Harvey. The festival is held annually and ends on the American Labor Day holiday in September. The festival takes place on the playa of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, 90 miles (150 km) north-northeast of Reno. Though the specific location on the playa changes from year to year, the location has been quite constant in recent years. The temporary city is an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. The event takes its name from the ritual of burning a large wooden sculpture of a man on the sixth day.

The annual event now known as Burning Man began on the summer solstice in 1986 when Larry Harvey, Jerry James, and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco and burned an eight foot (2.4 m) tall wooden man as well as a smaller wooden dog. The inspiration for burning these effigy figures has been explained by Harvey as "a spontaneous act of radical self-expression."

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A Christmas Carol - Ignorance and Want.jpg

Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Charles Dickens' 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. He is a very cold-hearted, selfish man, who has no love for Christmas, children, or anything that even provokes happiness. The story of his transformation by the three Ghosts of Christmas (Past, Present, and Yet to Come) has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday in some cultures. Scrooge's phrase, "Bah, humbug!" has been used to express disgust with Christmas traditions in modern times. The inspiration for Charles Dickens' character was a grave marker for an Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie.

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Santa Claus 1863 Harpers.png
Credit: Thomas Nast
One of the earliest depictions of the modern Santa Claus by Thomas Nast, which appeared on the cover of the January 3, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly. At this time, the image of Santa Claus had not yet merged with that of Father Christmas. This version was likely based on the Belsnickel ("Furry Nicholas"), a mythical being who visited naughty children in their sleep. This Santa was a man dressed up handing out gifts to Union Army soldiers.

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