As most of you may know, yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so on this occasion we thought it was time to take a peek at the most celebrated holidays in the world. Although the green-tinted celebration isn’t on our list, there are several other festivities that have been celebrated by large communities on every continent for centuries. From religious events and congregations, to commercial holidays, these dates hold a special meaning due to their cultural and social impact.
If you’re interested in travelling to a specific country for one of the holidays this year, check out our previous article on the top 8 destinations for 2014 to get an idea on which spots are up and coming. Of course, your travel destination will likely vary according to the time of year and some of the festivities in this compilation enjoy vast popularity in Middle Eastern or oriental countries. So, let’s take a look at the most celebrated holiday in the world and how they earned their spot in our hearts.
For those of you wishing to travel to India, I highly recommend visiting the country between mid-October and mid-November, since that is when the “festival of lights” – or Diwali – takes place. The five day festival is a Hindu celebration and considered an official holiday in India, Myanmar, Mauritius, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Singapore and Fiji. During these days, families unite in their homes and light candles or other luminous sources on the outside, in order to symbolize their protection from spiritual darkness. Given that it’s India’s most important festivity and due to its religious value, Diwali can’t be missing from our list.
4. Valentine’s Day
While some of you will retort with anguish and disgust at seeing this commercial holiday on our list, there’s no denying its worldwide popularity. Known for being tainted pink and red, Valentine’s Day celebrates love as a universal force, but with a particular emphasis on romantic relations. Every year, on February 14th, couples around the world (especially in the Western hemisphere and Europe) gift each other with flowers, chocolates, and most importantly, gift cards. In fact, the typical phrase for his holiday is “will you be my Valentine?”
3. Eid al-Fitr
Another religious festivity on our list of the most celebrated holidays in the world is the conclusion of Ramadan. After passing the trial of fasting for 30 days, Muslim communities from all over gather to celebrate the end of sawn, also known as the fasting month. During this Islamic holiday, which takes place on the first day of Shawwal, the religious community unites in prayer and there is no fasting allowed on this day.
Originally, Christmas was celebrated by Christians around the world as the day that Jesus Christ was born. And while the holiday remains a religious tradition, with most of its decoration consisting of symbolic objects, its significance amongst non-religious folks has changed over the past decades. With the 20th century creation of the Santa Claus myth, Christmas took on an entire new meaning, especially in western households. Today, the “season to be jolly” is celebrated on a global scale as a holiday of love and gifting amongst family and friends.
1. New Year
Although the date of this holiday has shifted around several times since its first celebration in Babylon, 4000 years ago, it is definitely on the top of our list due to its vast popularity. Every country on earth celebrates the beginning of a New Year with massive festivities, fireworks and parties, and since New Year’s Day is a public holiday everywhere, it’s safe to say that it trumps our compilation of the most celebrated holidays in the world.