What’s a Celebration? Why do people celebrate?

People celebrate for many reasons. Some people celebrate special family days. Other people get together as a group, a community, or even as a whole nation to celebrate a special event. Many celebrations are religious. People also celebrate certain times of the year.

Some celebrations take place on days when you don’t have to go to school and adults don’t have to go to work. These days are often marked with visits from friends and relatives and with special treats. Sometimes, people have picnics. And sometimes, people go to a church, a temple, or another house of worship.

Some of our festivals and celebrations mark the passing of the year and its changing seasons. These are usually very old customs. Long, long ago, before people had heating and electric lights, winter in many places was a hard time of dark days and bad weather. No wonder people celebrated the coming of summer with feasting and dancing! A good harvest at the end of the summer meant that there would be plenty to eat all winter. Everyone gave thanks for good crops.

Birthdays are favourite celebrations for many people. It’s fun to have a birthday cake with candles on it – one candle for every year of your life. Some people get birthday presents. Some people have a birthday party and invite all their friends.

Many people celebrate the birthday of their country. People also often celebrate the birthdays of religious leaders, presidents, kings and queens, national heroes, or other people they want to remember and honour.

Some holidays honour special groups of people. For example, certain days remind us of those who died fighting for their country. On other days, we honour people we love and respect, such as our parents and our teachers. A few holidays celebrate working people.

Some Christians celebrate “name days”. In some countries, children are named after Christian saints. Each saint has a special day, and children named after a saint celebrate on that saint’s day.

The word holiday comes from the words holy day – a day on which people pray or give thanks. Some holy days are celebrated by people all around the world. These important days may be remembered by going to a place of worship, by gathering together to pray, or by dressing up and having a good time. Some of the celebrations include feasting or a time of fasting. Fasting means that people stop eating, eat less than usual, or stop eating certain things.

Some celebrations are holidays, but not all of them. Today, we use the word holiday for any day of celebration, relaxation, or other change from an ordinary day.

On holidays, you may see parades with marching bands. At night, there may be dazzling fireworks.

Holidays are filled with traditions. People often prepare wonderful foods especially for holidays. People sometimes wear traditional clothes or brighten their homes and neighbourhoods with holiday lights and decorations. People also sing traditional songs and play holiday games. What are some of your favourite traditions?

We sometimes celebrate days that seem to be just for fun. On some of these days, we play jokes on people. On others, we get together with friends and neighbours to enjoy music, dancing, and singing.

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