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Under a public holiday ( ahd. Fira from Latin Feria , feast ' , the religious celebration dedicated, non-working day'; to celebrate ., Original, let stand the work ', ahd Firon of Latin fēriāri ;. Cf. Feierabend , holiday ) or feast day ( Latin dies fēstus , 'a day dedicated to the [public] religious celebration'; cf. festival ) is generally understood to be a day off with a special holiday rest. All cultures and peoples regularly celebrate certain events of social or religious importance. These are often particularly protected by the legal systems of the individual states. One then speaks of public holidays .


In colloquial terms, the term public holiday is intended to distinguish it from working days on the one hand and weekly rest days on the other. The weekly rest days are weekly holidays; these mostly have religious causes. In commemoration of the seventh day of creation , on which God rested (2.2–3 EU ), Judaism celebrates the Sabbath as the seventh day of the week, the Christian weekly rest day is the first day of the week, Sunday , in memory of the resurrection of Christ , Islamic Friday .

Legal meaning

Main article: Public holidays in Austria

Main article: Public holidays in Switzerland

The regulation of public holidays has an impact on labor law (additional free time), as well as on opening hours, traffic and school hours.

Types of holidays

Religious holidays

Political and calendar holidays

Moving and fixed holidays

Fixed holidays

Fixed holidays always take place on the same calendar date of the year. Important fixed holidays that are valid in many European countries are:

Moving Holidays

The moving holidays are mostly determined in the church year by the lunar calendar of the Jewish tradition. They take place every year on a different calendar day, but with the exception of the day of penance and prayer , they depend on the date of Easter . The date of the day of repentance and prayer, which always falls on a Wednesday, depends on the beginning of Advent. In many countries in Europe and America, the following movable holidays are also considered public holidays:

Holidays international

Holidays in existing states

Holidays in former states

See also


  • Eckhard Bieger: The church year: the festivals, meaning, origin, customs . Benno, Leipzig 2013, ISBN 978-3-7462-3760-2 .
  • Karl-Heinrich Bieritz: The church year: festivals, commemorative and public holidays in the past and present . 8th edition, Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-65605-7 .
  • Peter Häberle : Holiday guarantee as cultural identity elements of the constitutional state , Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1987, ISBN 3-428-06332-5 .
  • Angela Kämper, Ute Kleinelümern, Hanno Ballhausen: The most important holidays and commemorations. Chronicle at hand: Religious and national holidays worldwide. Bertelsmann Lexikon Verlag, Gütersloh / Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-577-14649-4 .
  • Jörg Koch: That you don't forget history - state commemorative and public holidays from 1871 to today. Wbg Academic, Darmstadt 2019, ISBN 978-3-534-40186-4 .
  • Timo Lokoschat : It's getting tight in the calendar: 365 strange commemorative and public holidays . Sanssouci, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-8363-0218-0 .

Web links

Commons : Holidays  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Holiday  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Celebration. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 3 : E – research - (III). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1862 ( ). There also public holidays , celebrate . Georges: Lat. Dictionary .
  2. Georges sv festus