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Introduction

Victory Day in Donetsk in 2013.

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. 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 function as any other weekend days or activities.

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Easter eggs in the stage of painting.jpg

Easter, also known as Pascha, the Feast of the Resurrection, the Sunday of the Resurrection, or Resurrection Day, is the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed between late March and late April. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which his followers believe occurred on the third day after his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33 (see Good Friday). In the Roman Catholic Church, Easter is actually an eight-day feast called the Octave of Easter. Easter also refers to the season of the church year, lasting for fifty days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost.

In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday from March 22 to April 25 inclusive. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In Eastern Christianity, Easter falls between April 4 and May 8 between 1900 and 2100 based on the Gregorian date. As with many other Christian dates, the celebration of Easter extends beyond the church. Since its origins, it has been a time of celebration and feasting. Today it is commercially important, seeing wide sales of greeting cards and confectionery such as chocolate Easter eggs, marshmallow bunnies, Peeps, and jelly beans.

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"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a popular Christmas story about Santa Claus' ninth and lead reindeer who possesses an unusually red colored nose that gives off its own light that is powerful enough to illuminate the team's path through inclement weather. The story is owned by St. Nicholas Music Inc. and has been sold in numerous forms including a popular song, a television special, and a feature film. Rudolph was created by Robert L. May in 1939 as part of his employment with Montgomery Ward.

Rudolph is an extension of Santa's reindeer which pull his sleigh and help him deliver Christmas gifts. The names of the original eight reindeer are taken from the 1823 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, which led to the popularity of reindeer as Christmas symbols.

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Catalonian Sun Goddess.jpg
Credit: flickr, Stuart Yeates
Catalonian Sun Goddess from the Hogmanay Street Party, Edinburgh, 2005.

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