Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It originated in the United Kingdom, and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire.
In Britain, it was a custom for tradespeople to collect “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys’ diary entry for 19 December 1663.
New Year’s Day, also called simply New Year’s or New Year, is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar.
In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named.
In present day, with most countries now using the Gregorian calendar as their de facto calendar, New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other traditions include making New Year’s resolutions and calling one’s friends and family.
Labour Day is an annual holiday to celebrate the achievements of workers. Labour Day has its origins in the labour union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
The first march by the labour movement occurred in Melbourne on 21 April 1856. On this day stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House to achieve an eight-hour day. Their direct action protest was a success, and they are noted as being among the first organised workers in the world to achieve an 8-hour day, with no loss of pay.
Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of Passover.
Holy Saturday is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. It commemorates the day that Jesus’ body lay in the tomb and the Harrowing of Hell.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary.
Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday and is a public holiday. Easter Monday in the Western Christian liturgical calendar is the second day of Eastertide and analogously in the Byzantine Rite is the second day of Bright Week.
In Australia, people enjoy outdoor sporting events, such as the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival in South Australia, Australian Three Peaks Race in Tasmania and the Stawell Gift in Victoria.
(The Stawell Gift is Australia’s oldest and richest short distance running race. The race is run on grass over 120 metres up a slight gradient. Competitors are handicapped according to their form, with each competitor “marked” by between 0 m and 10 m to theoretically reach the finish line at the same time.)