Holidays are celebrated all the time, and many times they have a tie to a Holy day. It is important to know the difference between a holiday and Holy day since they change the way that we treat the day.
What’s the difference between a holiday and a Holy day? If there is a religious reason behind your celebration it is a Holy day. For holidays, most people are given time off work to celebrate.
Differentiating a Holy day and a holiday in this day and age may be useful as you approach each holiday. There is a lot that goes into each holiday whether that me a deep religious meaning or a day to celebrate or honor something that is of value in society.
Origins and Meanings of Holiday and Holy Day
Holiday and Holy day sound so much alike and one reason for this is their shared origin. Holy day has always been a day set aside for Holy or religious reasons, holiday branches off Holy days when certain days lost their religious meaning.
More secular meanings took over the word Holy day when Holy days turned into a day off from work instead of a time to observe a religious day.
A holiday has implications for the average person that it is a day off from work and/or school. Instead, this day off becomes a time for recreation and relaxation.
Many times a holiday is associated with a specific event but not always a religious day like what a Holy Day represents. Holidays can be in honor or remembrance of someone or a group of people.
Holy days are defined by the day that they represent. People celebrating Holy days may have religious obligations and traditions such as attending Church, gathering with other believers, or reading certain passages of scripture.
In the Catholic Church, they have a stricter code for their Holy days. They are called the Holy day of obligation. This means that during any of the Holy days that you are to attend mass and treat the day as a sabbath.
Today many people celebrate Holy days without even realizing they are Holy days. The definition of holiday and Holy day has shifted a lot throughout history.
Each individual Holy day has a history, meaning, and tradition that is sometimes forgotten. When meaning and tradition are forgotten a person is not celebrating the Holy day, but a holiday.
Holiday and Holy Day Compared
When comparing a Holy day to a holiday it is important to keep in mind what society treats a day off compared to those who specifically try to observe Holy days.
Society may see it as a day off and a chance to enjoy recreational activities.
When observing a Holy day there are sometimes requirements or traditions that occur on the day. This makes the day not only a day off from work or regular activities but a time to set apart in a special way.
Holidays and Holy days often merge for most people.
As Christians, we get to celebrate Holy days and they are great reminders of what God has done for his people but do not have an obligation to them. Since our salvation is based on faith alone, no matter what we do on holidays or what traditions we uphold it will not affect the salvation that we received when excepting Jesus into our lives.
Other religions have obligations for their Holy Days as I mentioned previously in reference to the Catholic Church. There can be many different Holy days for different religions but Holy days and holidays are separate on the basis of the meaning and intention behind the day.
What are Holidays and What are Holy Days?
Some of the top Holidays and Holy days that pop-up are Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, New Years’, Independence Day, and many more. Each is a part of a category whether they can be defined as a Holy day or more in the category of holidays, and how they have changed over time.
As mentioned before Holy days and holidays can merge into one and for some of the major holidays like Christmas and Easter, this is not necessarily wrong as long as the cultural celebration of the holiday does not interfere with or contradict the celebration of the Holy day.
Going through the list of holidays listed above, simply understanding their origin will let you know if they are a Holy day, or simply a holiday.
New Years is a holiday celebrated all around the world and is in celebration of a New Year. This holiday is only connected only to the Solemnity of Mary in the Catholic church, but for those not in the Catholic church, it is simply a holiday.
Christmas has the word Christ in the name suggesting its connection to Christ. Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. This makes Christmas a Holy day, but we see today that many who are non-religious also celebrate this but emphasize the getting together of family and giving of gifts.
Christmas is the perfect example of being a Holy day along with a holiday. We can approach this day with the heart of celebrating the birth of Jesus and what he did while on earth and follow in traditions such as reading the story from the Bible while also exchanging gifts with each other and spending time with family.
Good Friday and Easter are days in celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Traditions such as going to church on Good Friday and attending a sunrise service on Easter, as well as decorating eggs to represent Jesus’ empty tomb.
Those who do celebrate the Holy day but simply the holiday and long weekend have similar traditions of dressing up decorating eggs and eating with friends. Good Friday is not celebrated outside of the Christain faith making it solely a Holy day.
Thanksgiving and Independence Day are holidays that have more connection to America (and Canada in the case of thanksgiving) than any Holy observance.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks, and Independence Day is a day in celebration of the Declaration of Independence being signed. These days are days off from work and have no obligations tied to them.
More Examples Of Holidays & Holy Days
Here is a list with five examples of a Holiday:
- New Year’s Eve
- Memorial Day
- Labor Day
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
To help you understand what a Holy day is, here are five examples:
- Feast of Weeks (Pentecost)
- Day of Atonement
- Feast of Tabernacles
- Lent & Ash Friday
Shared holidays and holidays:
- Celebration of Christmas (Hanukkah for Jews)
When getting ready for a holiday, whether that be a day off or a longer break, consider the reasons why this day is off from normal activities. If it is a Holy day you may want to look into its meaning and history to fully understand and celebrate the day.
We are blessed with days set apart to celebrate events such as our saviors birth, death, and resurrection and we should take these days to be thankful for what the Savior has done.