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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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Hanukkah1.jpg

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or Festival of Rededication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, which can occur in very late November, or throughout December. When Hanukkah begins in the last week of December, it continues into the following January. The festival is observed in Jewish homes by the kindling of lights on each of the festival's eight nights, one on the first night, two on the second, and so on.

In Hebrew, the word Hanukkah is written חנֻכה or חנוכה. The holiday was called Hanukkah meaning "dedication" because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration under Antiochus IV. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the Miracle of the Oil. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days - which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil.

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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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1944 NormandyLST.jpg
Credit: USCG
An LCVP from the U.S. Coast Guard-manned USS Samuel Chase disembarks troops of the U.S. Army's First Division on the morning of June 6, 1944 (D-Day) at Omaha Beach.

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