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Discussion: 24 Festive Tasks 2019: The Festive Calendar and the Holidays
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The holidays included in this year's festive calendar are:

Door 1: Nov. 1 - Día de los Muertos / All Saints' Day
Door 2: Nov. 3 - Japanese Culture Day
Door 3: Nov. 5 - Melbourne Cup Day
Door 4: Nov. 5 - Guy Fawkes Night
Door 5: Nov. 10 - Bon Om Touk
Door 6: Nov. 11 - Veterans’ / Armistice Day
Door 7: Nov. 16 - International Day for Tolerance
Door 8: Nov. 20 - International Children’s Day
Door 9: Nov. 21 - World Philosophy Day
Door 10: Nov. 24 - Russian Mothers' Day
Door 11: Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving
Door 12: Nov. 30 - St. Andrew's Day
Door 13: Dec. 1 - Advent
Door 14: Dec. 6 - St. Nicholas' Day
Door 15 Dec. 10 - International Human Rights Day
Door 16: Dec. 13 - St. Lucia's Day
Door 17: Dec. 21 - Winter Solstice (Yule / Yaldā Night / Dongzhi / Soyal)
Door 18: Dec. 22 - Hanukkah
Door 19: Dec. 23 - Festivus
Door 20: Dec. 25 - Christmas
Door 21: Dec. 26 - Kwanzaa
Door 22: Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve / St. Sylvester's Day
Door 23: Dec. 32 - Hogswatch
Door 24: Jan. 6 - Epiphany / Twelfth Night

Día de los Muertos / All Saints' Day
Día de Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican ancestry living in other places, e.g., in the United States. In Mexico the day is a public holiday; it is also acknowledged, however, internationally in many other countries. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with November 1 and November 2, to coincide with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars (ofrendas), honoring the deceased using calaveras (decorated skull effigies), Aztec marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves. – The Spanish tradition includes festivals and parades, as well as gatherings of families at cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones at the end of the day.

With their colorful expressionism, Día de Muertos celebrations provide a striking contrast to the muted colors and – in the Northern hemisphere – frequently gray November skies predominating on All Saints’ Day.

All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows' Day, Hallowmas, Feast of All Saints, or Solemnity of All Saints) is a Christian festival celebrated in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. In Western Christianity, it is celebrated on November 1 by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Methodist Church, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant churches. Christian celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and those still living. In Catholic theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In Methodist theology, All Saints Day revolves around giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints.

Japanese Culture Day
Culture Day is a national holiday held annually in Japan on November 3 for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavor. Festivities typically include art exhibitions, parades, and award ceremonies for distinguished artists and scholars.

November 3 was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1868, when it was a holiday held in honor of the birthday of the reigning Emperor—at that time, Emperor Meiji. Following Meiji's death in 1912, November 3 ceased to be a holiday until 1927, when his birthday was given its own specific holiday. This, in turn, was subsequently discontinued with the announcement of Culture Day in 1948, as a new holiday to commemorate the announcement of the post-war Japanese constitution on November 3, 1946.

As Culture Day exists to promote the arts and various fields of academic endeavor, local and prefectural governments typically choose this day to hold art exhibits, culture festivals, and parades, such as "Feudal Lords Parades" exhibiting Edo period clothing and costumes. It is also common for universities to present new research and projects on Culture Day. Similarly, primary and secondary schools often have a "culture festival" on or near this day.

Since 1936, the award ceremony for the prestigious Order of Culture has been held on this day. Given by the Emperor himself to those who have significantly advanced science, the arts or culture, it is one of the highest honours bestowed by the Japanese Imperial Family. The prize is not restricted to Japanese citizens, and for instance was awarded to the Apollo 11 astronauts upon their successful return from the moon, as well as literary scholar Donald Keene.

Melbourne Cup Day
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is a 3200-metre race for three-year-olds and over, conducted by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. The event starts at 3 pm on the first Tuesday of November and is known locally as "the race that stops the nation".

The Melbourne Cup has a long tradition, with the first race held in 1861. It was originally over two miles (3.219 km) but was shortened to 3,200 metres (1.988 mi) in 1972 when Australia adopted the metric system. This reduced the distance by 18.688 metres (61.312 ft). The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3:16.3.

Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is an annual commemoration observed on November 5, primarily in Great Britain. Its history begins with the events of November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators of the so-called Gunpowder Plot were arrested for planning to blow up explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London, and several months later an Act of Parliament enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving for the plot's failure. Although that order enforcing the holiday was repealed in 1859, by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration, albeit lacking much of its original focus. The present-day Guy Fawkes Night is usually celebrated at large organised events, centred on a bonfire kindled by an oversized straw effigy, and on extravagant firework displays.

Bon Om Touk
The Cambodian Water Festival Bon Om Touk is celebrated in early November and commemorates the end of the country's rainy season, as well as the annual reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River, the central part of a hydrological system in the Lower Mekong Basin which the Mekong River replenishes with water and sediments annually. The Water Festival was first celebrated in the 12th century, around the time of Angkorian King Jayavarman VII, when the King’s Navy helped usher in the Cambodian fishing season. The festivities made the gods happy and secured good harvests of rice and fish in the upcoming year. Another interpretation is that Bon Om Touk was a way for the King to prepare his navy for battle. -- The biggest celebrations take place in Phnom Penh, lasting night and day for three days, with boat racing along the Sisowath Quay and concerts.

Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day
Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of WW I, which took effect at 11:00 AM – the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth and Veterans’ Day in the U.S., both public holidays. The poppy became the international symbol of the day as a result of its being mentioned in the poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, which commemorates the fallen soldiers buried under the Flanders poppy fields.

International Day for Tolerance
This holiday observed annually on November 16 is intended to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance. It was declared by UNESCO in 1995, the UN's fiftieth anniversary year, which in turn was declared the United Nations Year for Tolerance. Every year since then, on November 16, various conferences and festivals are organized to mark the International Day for Tolerance; among them, the Universal Tolerance Cartoon Festival in Drammen, Norway, which organized an International Cartoon Festival in 2013. -- The winner of the biannual UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence, established in 1996 in connection with the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, is also announced on the International Day for Tolerance. The US $100,000 award is given to individuals and institutions standing out for their exceptional contributions and leadership in the field of tolerance promotion, or to the families of outstanding individuals who have lost their lives in the struggle against intolerance. Past laureates include Myanmar politician and activist Aung San Suu Kyi (2002) and Bangladeshi-Swedish author and human rights activist Taslima Nasrin (2004).

International Children's Day
Children's Day was first celebrated on the second Sunday of June in 1857 by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard, pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea, Massachusetts, who held a special service for and dedicated to children. Leonard named the day Rose Day; later it was named Flower Sunday and eventually Children's Day. As a national holiday, Children's Day was first officially declared by the Republic of Turkey in 1920 with the set date of April 23.

On November 20, 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Since then, Universal Children's Day is observed annually on November 20 to promote the objectives for the welfare of children outlined in that Declaration and in the U.N. Charter, to encourage all countries to institute a day to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children. As such, Universal Children's Day is not just a day to celebrate children for who they are, but also to bring awareness to children around the globe that have experienced violence in forms of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination. E.g., in some countries children still continue to be used as laborers, or they are immersed in armed conflict and are suffering the effects of war (such as displacement and physical and psychological trauma), or they are living on the streets, suffering religious or ethnic discrimination, or are affliceted with disabilities.

Even before 1959, a Women's International Democratic Federation had established the International Day for Protection of Children as a holiday to be observed on June 1 (for the first time in 1950), and many countries continue to adhere to that date, rather than November 20. In the United Kingdom, where the holiday was first proclaimed in 1954, it is observed on the second Sunday of May; the United States continues to adhere to Pastor Leonard's chosen date, the second Sunday of June; and Turkey continues to celebrate the holiday on April 23. In Germany and Austria, the holiday is observed on September 20; in Australia, the fourth week of October is Children's Week, with the Wednesday of that week marked out as Children's Day. The countries that observe Children's Day on the date set by the U.N., November 20, include Canada, Egypt Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, the countries emerging from the former Yugoslavia, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, as well as several other African and several Arabic and Islamic countries.

World Philosophy Day
This is an international day proclaimed by UNESCO to be celebrated every third Thursday of November. It was first celebrated on 21 November 21, 2002. By celebrating World Philosophy Day, UNESCO underlines the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual. UNESCO has always been closely linked to philosophy, not speculative or normative philosophy, but critical questioning which enables it to give meaning to life and action in the international context. In establishing World Philosophy Day, UNESCO’s General Conference highlighted the importance of this discipline, especially for young people, underlining that “philosophy is a discipline that encourages critical and independent thought and is capable of working towards a better understanding of the world and promoting tolerance and peace”. UNESCO's General Conference was convinced that “the institutionalisation of Philosophy Day at UNESCO as ‘World Philosophy Day’ would win recognition for and give strong impetus to philosophy and, in particular, to the teaching of philosophy in the world”.

Russian Mothers' Day
Mothers' Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May, and complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Father's Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day. Even though not directly related to the similar traditional celebrations that have existed throughout the world over thousands of years, the tradition of a day to celebrate mothers and motherhood can be traced back to these; e.g., the ancient Greek festivities in honour of Rhea, the mother of the gods, the Greek cult to Cybele, or the Roman festival of Hilaria. Early Christians also celebrated the fourth Sunday of Lent as a Mother's festival to honour Mary, the mother of Christ, and out of this arose the Mothering Sunday celebration (albeit originally a commemoration of Mother Church, not motherhood). In some countries, Mother's Day is still synonymous with these older traditions.

The modern Mother's Day began in the United States, in 1908, at the initiative of social activist Ann Reeves Jarvis. In Russia, Women's Day was first celebrated on the last Sunday in February in 1913, and Soviet Russia thereafter traditionally celebrated International Women's Day and Mother's Day as a public holiday on March 8 of each year. However, by decree of January 30, 1998, then-President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, established Mother's Day as a national holiday set on the last Sunday of November.

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in the United States, Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year; similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan, albeit not at the same time. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well; in the U.S. the First Thanksgiving is believed to have been held by the Puritan settlers in the early 17th century. Traditions associated with Thanksgiving in North America include family gatherings for a dinner of roasted turkey, potatoes, squash / pumpkins and gravy, as well as spiced pumpkin or apple pie for desert.

St. Andrew's Day
November 30 is the feast day of Saint Andrew and Scotland's official national day. Since 2015, it is also a national holiday in Romania. According to the New Testament, St. Andrew was the disciple who introduced his brother, the Apostle Peter, to Jesus. Andrew is credited with spreading the gospel to Romania, Greece and Russia, and he was crucified in 60AD in Patras (Greece) for having baptised the wife and brother of the Governor, Aegeus. Today, he is the patron saint not only of Scotland and Romania but also of Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, San Andres Island (Colombia), Saint Andrew (Barbados), and Tenerife.

Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland in the early Middle Ages. Legend has it that a 4th century monk called Regulus (St. Rule) brought his relics from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today. According to the University of St Andrews, however, the saint's relics were brought there in 733 by Bishop Acca of Hexham, a former abbot of St Andrews, where a religious centre had been founded either by St Rule or by Oengus, an 8th century Pictish king. Saint Andrew's relics now reside at St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh, in a national shrine.

The celebration of St. Andrew's Day as a national Scottish festival is thought to originate from the reign of Malcolm III (1034–1093). It is thought that the ritual slaughter of animals associated with Samhain (the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter) was moved to this date, so as to assure that enough animals were kept alive for the winter months. But it was only in 2006 that the Scottish Parliament passed an Act designating the day as an official bank holiday. (If November 30 falls on a weekend, the next Monday is a bank holiday instead.) In Scotland and countries with Scottish connections, St. Andrew's Day is marked with a celebration of Scottish culture with traditional Scottish food, music and dance. The day is also seen as the start of a season of Scottish winter festivals encompassing Saint Andrew's Day, Hogmanay (= New Year's Eve) and Burns Night (January 25, the poet's birthday). There are week-long celebrations in the town of St Andrews and in some other Scottish cities, beginning on November 30. The University of St Andrews traditionally gives the day for all the students as a free holiday.

Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming". Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (sometimes known as Advent Sunday), the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew's Day (November 30), in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church and, inter alia, in the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars. – Practices associated with Advent include keeping an Advent calendar, lighting an Advent wreath, praying an Advent daily devotional, as well as other ways of preparing for Christmas, such as setting up Christmas decorations.
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