The Most Celebrated Holidays Around the World in 2023

Holidays hold a special place in the hearts of people across the globe. They provide an opportunity for families and friends to come together, share joy, and create lasting memories.

While some holidays have religious or cultural significance, others are purely secular celebrations. The important thing to know is that there are many seasonal holidays around the world at any given time, likely being celebrated by millions.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most celebrated holidays around the world, delving into their origins, customs, and global appeal.

1. New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated holidays worldwide, marking the beginning of a new year and symbolizing fresh starts and renewed hope.

While most countries now follow the Gregorian calendar, which starts on January 1st, some cultures celebrate the new year on different dates according to their own calendars, such as the Chinese New Year that falls between January 21 and February 20.

Origins and Traditions

The celebration of the New Year dates back over 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians, who observed the holiday during the first new moon following the vernal equinox.

Today, various customs and rituals are associated with New Year’s Day, including making resolutions, attending parties, and enjoying fireworks at midnight to usher in the new year.

Christmas

2. Christmas

Christmas is a widely celebrated holiday, primarily associated with Christianity but enjoyed by people of various faiths. Commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, this festive occasion is marked by family gatherings, gift-giving, and elaborate decorations.

Origins and Traditions

The early 4th century saw the establishment of December 25th as the official date for Christmas, following mass confusion and numerous hypotheses about the actual birthdate of Jesus.

Religious and non-religious people alike participate in various Christmas customs, such as attending church services, decorating Christmas trees, and exchanging gifts.

Easter

3. Easter

Easter is a significant Christian holiday that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Falling on a Sunday in the months of March, April, or May, the date of Easter is determined by the lunisolar calendar and has been observed on this day since the early 3rd century.

Origins and Traditions

Easter is marked by a week-long series of events, starting with Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus, and culminating in Easter Monday, a legal holiday in many parts of the world with a predominantly Christian population.

Celebrations include attending church services, participating in Easter egg hunts, and enjoying festive meals with family and friends.

Valentine's Day

4. Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14th each year, is a holiday honoring love and romance.

Originally a Christian feast day honoring Saint Valentine, the holiday has evolved into a global celebration of affection and devotion, with people exchanging gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and jewelry.

Origins and Traditions

The origins of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was later Christianized and renamed in honor of Saint Valentine.

Nowadays, the holiday is marked by romantic dinners, heartfelt gift-giving, and the exchange of love notes or cards.

Eid al-Fitr

5. Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is an important Islamic holiday that signifies the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.

Observed around the world by Muslims, this holiday is marked by communal prayers, feasting, and charitable acts.

Origins and Traditions

Eid al-Fitr is a time for Muslims to come together and celebrate the conclusion of a month of dawn-to-sunset fasting.

Festivities include attending special prayer services, visiting friends and family, and giving gifts or money to the less fortunate.

Eid al-Adha

6. Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, also known as the Greater Eid or Bakrid, is another significant Islamic holiday that honors the willingness of the prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God’s command.

This holiday, observed for four days, falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Origins and Traditions

Eid al-Adha is marked by the ritual sacrifice of an animal, such as a sheep or goat, with a portion of the meat being distributed to the poor.

The holiday also involves communal prayers, festive meals, and gatherings with family and friends.

Hanukkah

7. Hanukkah

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days.

Celebrated between November and December according to the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah is marked by the lighting of the menorah, a special nine-branched candelabrum.

Origins and Traditions

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is observed by lighting one candle on the menorah for each night of the holiday, accompanied by prayers and the singing of traditional songs.

Families also enjoy playing games, eating fried foods, and giving gifts during this joyous celebration.

Thanksgiving

8. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada, with origins rooted in the tradition of giving thanks for a bountiful harvest.

In the US, Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday of November, while Canadians celebrate on the second Monday of October.

Origins and Traditions

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621, after a successful harvest. Today, the holiday is marked by feasting, parades, and spending time with loved ones.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal includes roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.

Diwali

9. Diwali

Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is a five-day Hindu festival celebrated primarily in India, Nepal, and other countries with large Hindu populations.

Taking place between October and November, Diwali is a time for worshipping deities, exchanging gifts, and illuminating homes with oil lamps and candles.

Origins and Traditions

Diwali commemorates the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, symbolized by the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their kingdom after defeating the demon king Ravana.

The holiday is marked by colorful rangoli designs, fireworks displays, and the sharing of sweets among friends and family.

Halloween

10. Halloween

Halloween, celebrated on October 31st, is a holiday with both pagan and Christian origins, marking the beginning of Allhallowtide, a three-day observance honoring the dead.

Today, Halloween is enjoyed by people of all ages and involves costumes, trick-or-treating, and various spooky-themed activities.

Origins and Traditions

The modern-day celebration of Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

Over time, Halloween has evolved into a fun-filled occasion characterized by dressing up in costumes, carving pumpkins, and attending parties or haunted attractions.

The Most Anticipated and Celebrated Holidays Around the World

In conclusion, holidays play an essential role in bringing people together and offering a break from the monotony of daily life.

From religious observances to secular celebrations, these most celebrated holidays provide opportunities for creating cherished memories with loved ones and experiencing the rich tapestry of cultural traditions around the world.