Do you look forward to holidays? If you’re like most people, you certainly do. Whether or not you have a strong connection to the reason for celebrating a holiday, everyone enjoys a day off every now and then.

Holidays are days set aside because they have special meaning to certain people, an entire country or a particular religious group. Some holidays, like Independence Day in the United States, are official government holidays and are observed by giving people the day off from work or school. With their free time, people can spend time with family and friends to celebrate the holiday.  Or, they can simply enjoy some free time to relax and rest.

Other holidays, such as April Fools’ Day, are unofficial. They may not involve any time off from work or school. Even though they’re unofficial, many minor holidays are still very important to certain groups of people.

Holidays often involve special celebrations. On July 4 every year, fireworks displays are a common way of celebrating Independence Day. On April Fools’ Day, you might find yourself the target of a practical joke or a prank.

The word “holiday” came from the Old English word hāligdæg, which referred to special religious days. These “holy days” eventually became “holiday.” However, today “holiday” refers to any type of day — religious or not — set aside to celebrate something special.

Anyone can decide to celebrate anything on any particular day (more about this in just a moment). However, establishing an official national holiday is not an easy task. Sometimes people celebrate a special occasion for years before petitioning a government to recognize their celebration as an official holiday.

For example, Thanksgiving was celebrated for many years informally. Eventually, Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor in Boston, began to write articles and letters to government officials, requesting that Thanksgiving be made an official holiday.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln finally agreed with her. However, an official act of Congress is required to create a national holiday. Thanksgiving wasn’t made an official U.S. holiday until 1941!

Since it takes a lot of effort to get an official national holiday, that’s probably why there aren’t more of them. Plus, too many holidays would make the most important holidays seem less special. We also can’t afford too many days off of work or school or we’d never get anything done!

Nevertheless, just one more holiday couldn’t hurt, could it? That’s why someone — we’re not sure exactly who — created Make Your Own holiday Day. On this day (usually recognized on March 26), people everywhere are encouraged to make up their own holiday to celebrate anything they want.

Of course, as long as you’re making up your own holiday, you don’t have to celebrate it on March 26. It’s your holiday, so feel free to celebrate it whenever you want. Just make sure your idea for a new holiday hasn’t already been taken. There are a lot of weird and wacky holidays you can find on holiday calendars on the Internet. Here are a few interesting April holidays you may not have known about:

  • Draw a Picture of a Bird Day (April 8th)
  • Blah Blah Blah Day (April 17th)
  • Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day (April 24th)
  • Hug an Australian Day (April 26th)
  • National Hairball Awareness Day (April 30th)
 

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is really tall and full of water. What could it be?