America and countries in the European Union celebrate similar holidays because most of them are rooted in the Christian faith. Every country in the European Union also has some sort of independence or national founding holiday, like America's July 4th. Every culture celebrates Christmas, New Years and Easter in its own way. In this collection you'll also find some holidays unique to countries like England, France and Ireland.
On the first day of November, many countries celebrate All Saint's Day. During this holiday, family members remember dead ancestors, martyrs and saints. In North America, the Mexican All Saint's Day or Dia de los Muertos is a large part of the culture. All Saint's Day is right after All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween.
The Assumption, or the feast day of the Virgin Mary's ascent into Heaven is celebrated on August 15th. The Assumption of Mary is celebrated in Belgium, France, Greece and Italy, among others. Ferragosto is the name of this festival in Italy, where almost the entire month of August is one giant vacation for kids and adults alike.
On July 14th, 1789, French nationalists stormed France's biggest prison, the Bastille, during the French Revolution. Today in France, Bastille Day is the national independence holiday. One of the most famous events for Bastille Day is a military march down the Champs-Elysses, one of the most famous streets in the French capital city, Paris.
Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day is celebrated on the 26th of December, the day after Christmas. Traditionally, British households would give boxes with presents to their servants and household staff on Boxing Day. This celebration originated in Britain and has spread through most of Northern Europe, although it is practiced as far south as Greece as well.
Carnival is a huge party right before Lent. The Spanish city of Cadiz has one of the biggest and most famous Carnival celebrations in the world. They have musicians, costumes and theatre troupes for entertainment. Poland, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece also have Carnival celebrations. It's a great way to let loose before the strict 40 days of Lent.
Counties like Norway, Denmark and Sweden actually celebrate Christmas Day on December 24th. In Germany and Belgium, they give presents and celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th in addition to Christmas. In Spain, the day for gift giving is January 5th. An Irish Christmas, the biggest festival of the year, lasts from December 24th to January 6th. That's a lot of Christmas!
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday. Until the 19th century, the celebration after Easter lasted an entire week. In Poland, kids celebrate an Easter Monday tradition called Dyngus Day. Boys wake girls up by pouring buckets of water over their heads. Then they chase them around the house with decorated sticks.
A lot of May 1st May Day celebrations in countries like Germany and England also celebrate workers of the world, sort of like American Labor Day. On the first of May, 1561, King Louis XIV was given a lily of the valley. These flowers, symbols of springtime, are a traditional May Day gift in France to this day.
American has the Rose Bowl and many Northern European nations also celebrate the New Year with football. Only in Scotland and England that's what they actually call soccer. Did you know that New Year's Day used to be celebrated on March 15th? The church changed it to January 1st in 153 A.D.
Saint Patrick's Day, March 17th, is the national holiday of the Republic of Ireland. Even though the parade and festival in Dublin can gather up to 500,000 people every year, the biggest St. Patrick's Day festival is actually in New York City. The common saying goes: "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!"