A holiday celebrates a person, anniversary, religious belief or other occasion. You might observe the Indian holiday of Holi, and take a week off of work to celebrate with your family.

A holiday is an occasion recognized by the state or federal government and marked on calendars, like Thanksgiving in the United States. Most holidays are celebratory and fun, and just about all of them mean no work or school. You can also take a holiday, or vacation. Holiday comes from "holy" and "day," meaning a religious festival, and the word was even pronounced that way until the sixteenth century.

Definitions of holiday

n leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure

“we took a short holiday in Puerto Rico”
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a short vacation about halfway through a school term
informal term for vacation
field day, outing, picnic
a day devoted to an outdoor social gathering
a holiday taken by a newly married couple
paid vacation
a vacation from work by an employee with pay granted
Type of:
leisure, leisure time
time available for ease and relaxation

n a day on which work is suspended by law or custom

“no mail is delivered on federal holidays
“it's a good thing that New Year's was a holiday because everyone had a hangover”
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a day on which half is free from work or duty
feast day, fete day
a day designated for feasting
holy day, religious holiday
a day specified for religious observance
Christmas Eve, Dec 24
the day before Christmas
legal holiday, national holiday, public holiday
authorized by law and limiting work or official business
Poppy Day, Remembrance Day, Remembrance Sunday
the Sunday nearest to November 11 when those who died in World War I and World War II are commemorated
Hindu lunar holiday (on the 9th day of Caitra) to celebrate the birth of Rama
Hindu solar holiday at the beginning of the new astrological year when the sun enters the constellation Aries
fast day
a day designated for fasting
January 1, New Year's, New Year's Day
the first day of the year
Martin Luther King Day, Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday
observed on the Monday closest to January 15
Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashona, Rosh Hashonah
(Judaism) a solemn Jewish feast day celebrated on the 1st or 1st and 2nd of Tishri; noted for the blowing of the shofar
Christian holy day
a religious holiday for Christians
Jewish holy day
a religious holiday for Jews
movable feast, moveable feast
a religious holiday that falls on different dates in different years
Presidents' Day
the third Monday in February; commemorates both presidents Lincoln and Washington
Decoration Day, Memorial Day
legal holiday in the United States, last Monday in May; commemorates the members of the United States armed forces who were killed in war
Fourth of July, Independence Day, July 4
a legal holiday in the United States
Labor Day
first Monday in September in the United States and Canada
Columbus Day, Discovery Day, October 12
a legal holiday commemorating the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus
Circumcision, Feast of the Circumcision, January 1
(Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Church) feast day celebrating the circumcision of Jesus; celebrated on January 1st
Dormition, Feast of Dormition
celebration in the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary's being taken up into heaven when her earthly life ended; corresponds to the Assumption in the Roman Catholic Church and is also celebrated on August 15th
Christmas, Christmas Day, Dec 25, Xmas
a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ; a quarter day in England, Wales, and Ireland
Boxing Day
first weekday after Christmas
bank holiday
any of several weekdays when banks are closed; a legal holiday in Britain
Commonwealth Day, Empire day, May 24
British, anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth
Dominion Day, July 1
a legal holiday in Canada commemorating receiving Dominion status in 1867
14 July, Bastille Day
a legal holiday in France celebrating the storming of the Paris bastille in 1789
Armistice Day, November 11, Veterans Day, Veterans' Day
a legal holiday in the United States; formerly Armistice Day but called Veterans' Day since 1954
Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day
fourth Thursday in November in the United States; second Monday in October in Canada; commemorates a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag
Victoria Day
a public holiday in Canada on the Monday on or before May 24th
Id al-Fitr
a Muslim day of feasting at the end of Ramadan
Feast of Sacrifice, Id al-Adha
the 10th day of Dhu'l-Hijja; all Muslims attend a service in the mosques and those who are not pilgrims perform a ritual slaughter of a sheep (commemorating God's ransom of Abraham's son from sacrifice) and give at least a third of the meat to charity
Type of:
a day assigned to a particular purpose or observance

v spend or take a vacation

spend a holiday after one's marriage
Type of:
pass, spend
pass time in a specific way

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