Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.

~ John Barrymore ~

Strange But Happy Holidays

June 11th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 42 secs

It’s good to let your hair down on holidays.

Here’s to happy holidays! It’s the Queen’s Birthday holiday today in Tasmania. Same with some of the other mainland states. But not Western Australia or Queensland (who each have a Queen’s Birthday holiday on different dates). To make it even more confusing, Queen Elizabeth’s birthday is actually in April.  Welcome to the fabulous world of strange but happy holidays.

Southern Tasmanians also have Regatta Day in mid February, commemorating boat races on the Derwent River. We hardly have any boats regularly plying the Derwent anymore. But it’s certainly a happy holiday.


Holidays For Horse Racing and Groundhogs

Yet there are plenty of other happy holidays to discover, aren’t there? Melbournians on the mainland have a day off, thanks to the Melbourne Cup horse race on the first Tuesday in November. While, the people of Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania make the most of Groundhog Day. This obscure event apparently came from early German settlers who, come Candlemas Day, did a bit of winter weather forecasting by studying a badger’s shadow.  Spot a badger’s shadow and you knew winter would continue. No shadow and winter was soon to end. Today, groundhogs do the job at Gobbler’s Knob and I have to say this surely seems like one of the most original excuses to enjoy a truly happy holiday.

Of course, half the fun comes in the name of such celebrations. You could be forgiven for thinking the people of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, would be wildly purging themselves on Evacuation Day. But it’s actually a holiday celebrating the departure of the British from Boston early in the American Revolution. For some though, it seems any excuse for a holiday is good enough. Bhutan commemorates Blessed Rainy Day, the Philippines celebrates the last day of the year by making it a holiday, and Uruguay has made the 21st September something special by making it Lover’s Day.

Personally, I rather like Cameroon’s Sheep Festival on May 21. As soon as the sheep come down from the mountains it’s time for a happy holiday; and why not?

Mind you, Gai Jatra or, the Procession of the Cows, in Nepal, sounds like an interesting excuse for a holiday break too.  Occurring sometime in September, Gai Jatra invites every family who has lost a relative in the past year to parade a cow (or a small boy if they don’t have a bovine on hand) through the street. The intention is to smooth their relative’s journey to heaven, and provide locals with a happy holiday to boot.

How About a Holiday Celebrating Melons?

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, how about national Melon Day in Turkmenistan, held on the second Sunday of August? According to Wikipedia, Turkmenistan’s former President Niyazov who introduced this and other happy holidays, was quoted in the press in 2004 as saying “The Turkmen melon is the source of our pride. Its taste has no equals in the world, the smell makes your head spin.” Other happy holidays he introduced include: A Drop of Water A Grain of Gold Day and Turkmen Carpet Day. So you could say the people of Turkmenistan know a thing of two about taking a break no matter what the occasion.

Around the world, people enjoy their holidays. It’s one more thing we all share in common. We all enjoy the freedom they give and the chance to escape routines.  For the most part, they’re happy holidays too. But regardless of their reason, we do best to make the most of our state’s breaks by celebrating them with family and friends. Why together and not alone? Because a holiday shared with people you care for is more than likely to be twice the fun.

What kind of happy holidays do you have?


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