The History and Culture of Different Holidays Around the World

Written by Santa's Quarters™


Celebrating holidays worldwide is a wonderful way to learn about different cultures and locations. From religious and cultural festivals to vibrant national feasts, there is no shortage of entertaining occasions to enjoy each year. Here's a look at some of the most popular holidays celebrated around the globe.

Sensational Seasonal Holidays


Halloween is the holiday that marks the eve of All Saints Day in Europe and has countless local twists. In Canada, children often request "Halloween apples" as a treat instead of saying "trick or treat" for candy. In Mexico, kids ask for candy skulls with the phrase "¿Me da mi calaverita?" In Portugal, children carry pumpkin-like lanterns and ask for certain special cakes.


Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, marks the triumph of good over evil. People worldwide celebrate this holiday with beautiful lanterns and fireworks displays to ward off evil spirits. It is celebrated in India, Nepal, and several other countries each year.


Holi is the Hindu festival of colors that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It's widely celebrated in India and Nepal by lighting bonfires, roasting grains like corn, and playing with water and colorful powder. It's an excellent way to welcome the season of spring, and the clouds of colored powder are an amazing sight to behold!

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a festive Mexican holiday that celebrates life and death. People create ofrendas (altars) covered with photos of the deceased, flowers, and bright orange marigolds to honor their departed loved ones. They also eat traditional dishes such as tamales and pan de muerto (sweet bread). These customs remind us to appreciate our lives while we still can.

Colorful Holidays of Love

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a celebration of love, and it's celebrated with different customs in various countries. In Denmark, for instance, people send anonymous love notes known as "gaekkebrev". Japanese women give chocolate to the men in their life, and South African ladies stick the names of people they love on their sleeves.


Dragobete is a Romanian holiday celebrated on February 24th. This holiday celebrates love and fertility, which honors the coming of spring. Traditionally girls pick flowers, and boys give them gifts in exchange for kisses. Furthermore, couples jump over bonfires to ensure their love will last forever.

Animated Worldwide December Holidays


Christmas is a Christian occasion to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and it is celebrated worldwide. In the United States, people decorate Christmas trees, hang wreaths, and exchange presents. In the Netherlands, children leave their shoes in front of the fireplace for Sinterklaas to fill with candy and presents.

Boxing Day

When Christmas is over, many countries around the world celebrate Boxing Day on December 26th. This holiday honors those less fortunate by giving to charity and helping those in need. In Canada and the United Kingdom, people receive gifts from their employers and go shopping for discounted items. It's a great way to end the festive season!

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and is usually celebrated on December 21st. This holiday has been around for centuries, and it's usually regarded as a time to reflect on what has come before and look forward to what lies ahead. People celebrate through light displays, bonfires, or traditional meals and drinks.


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrating the Second Temple's rededication in Jerusalem. During this eight-day celebration, families light Menorahs, spin Dreidels, and eat traditional foods like sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). It's a wonderful way to remember the past and share traditions with family and friends.


Kwanzaa is a week-long African American celebration of African heritage and culture. It begins on December 26th and lasts until New Year's Day. During Kwanzaa, families light candles, share meals, exchange gifts and practice the seven principles of Kwanzaa. The purpose of this holiday is to promote unity and family values.

Popular Holidays for Kids

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri, or the Dolls' Festival, is held in Japan each spring. Families display a set of dolls wearing traditional court clothing representing different generations of Japanese royalty. This festival celebrates the health and happiness of young girls and marks the end of winter.

Lucia's Day

It could be St. Lucia's Day when you see countless young girls walking around with electric candles on their heads in Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden and Norway. This day honors the eldest daughter in a family by crowning them with lights. This holiday celebrates light during the darkest time of year when there are only a few hours of daylight per day. This beautiful tradition reminds us of the power and beauty of light during dark times.

Exciting Holidays for the Whole Family

Pingxi Lantern Festival

The Pingxi Lantern Festival is an ancient celebration held in Taiwan every year. On this day, thousands of people write their wishes on sky lanterns and then release them into the night sky. Watching the beautiful lanterns float away is a mesmerizing experience that will stay with you for years to come!

New Year's Eve

This is the time of year when everyone looks back on the past and celebrates the new one. People around the world mark this occasion in different ways. Spaniards eat grapes, Brazilians wear white to honor their goddess of water, Lemanjá, Japanese visitors listen to bells ringing at Buddhist temples, Filipinos don polka dots and round fruits for good luck, and Americans enjoy a variety of fireworks displays.

St. Patrick's Day

This holiday honors the patron saint of Ireland and involves vibrant parades, family meals, and activities such as charity races or music festivals, depending on which country it's celebrated in. For instance, Chicago's river is famously dyed green in the United States! In Ireland, people celebrate with parades, family dinners, and Catholic Masses.

Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year is one of the biggest festivals in China, and it marks the start of a new lunar year. It's a time when families come together to enjoy meals, exchange gifts and participate in activities like lion dances, dragon boat races, and temple fairs. The festivities last for several days and allow people to celebrate the culture and traditions of China.

More Resources

Everything You Need To Know About Valentine's Day

Origins, Meaning, and Traditions of Halloween

Holi: Festival of Colors

New Year's Eve

What Is St. Patrick's Day?

The Significance of Diwali

Everything You Need To Know About Christmas

Christmas Ornaments

What is Hanukkah?

Understanding the Day of the Dead

What Is Hina Matsuri?

Kwanzaa: What Is It?

What is Boxing Day?

Understanding Dragobete

Pingxi Lantern Festival

The Origin, Celebrations, and Traditions of St. Lucia's Day

Facts About Winter Solstice

Important Things To Remember About Chinese New Year