HOLIDAY (AS. halo (law, holy day). A day set apart as a religious anniversary, or for the purpose of commemorating some extraordinary event. or of honoring the memory of a distin guished person. As a rule, holidays are occasions for rejoicing. People are expected to observe them "with the voice of joy and praise." (Ps. xlii. 4.) At times, however, they are accompanied by fasts rather than feasts. Of this character are days of humiliation and prayer. smelt as Fast Day, formerly observed in Massaelmsetts and other New England and days specially ap pointed from time to time by proclamation of Government authorities or of ecclesiastical dig nitaries.
During the 'Middle holidays became so numerous, in many parts of Europe, as to inter fere seriously with industrial pursuit.. One of the most important results of the religious refor mation of the sixteenth century was the abolition of excessive holidays with its consequent increase in the volume of secular labor. The present tendency in this country appears to he toward the multiplication of legal holidays.
Alane occasions are observed by Church or social 0r political organizations as holidays which are hot declared holidays by law, A legal holiday is one set apart. either by common or by statute law•, as a day of rest. or of cessation in whole or in part from ordinary business activities. Sunday is the only common-law holiday in this country, al though Good Friday has been recognized as such in England for centuries. IA-gal holidays are of two kinds, general or 'while, and special or lim ited. (In a public holiday, as Sunday or the Fourth of duly, piddle ()dices are (dosed, and persons under contract to render services are nut bound to work fur their employers. If they do labor at the request of their employers, they to extra pay. In England, and in many
of our States, persons are prohibited from carry ing on secular business or making contracts dur ing Sunday. (See the article On spe cial or limited holidays, such as some of the hank holidays (q.v.), exemption from labor and from the performance of contracts is confined to a particular class of employees or to a designated section of the community. or to specified contracts.
As a nation, we have no legal holiday, although Congress has appointed special holidays from time to time, and in the District of Columbia has made Labor Day a public holiday. it is cus tomary for the President appoint annually the last Thursday of November as a day of thank.s giving. but its observance as a legal holiday is dependent upon State and Territorial legislation. At present there are about thirty different legal holidays recognized by our various States. Some of them, like the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans (Louisiana), Bennington battle day (Vermont), Patriots' Day (Massachusetts). and Lincoln's Birthday (New York). are confined to a single commonwealth; while others. like Christ mas Day and the Fourth of duly, are observed throughout the Union. Consult: //root:tun Daily Eagle (1902, p. 52) ; Thoughts for the Occasion ( New York. E. 13. Treat, 1894) ; of Holidays.'' 34, Popular Science 1,1(nith N, 516 "Ameriean Holidays," (12, Salim (la!, Reriew, 19 (18861 : Manners, Plea for National Holy Days (London, 1813); "The Holi days." 32, Harper's Magazine, hit, 358 (1806); "Bank Holidays," 22, Journal of the institute of Hankers (London. 1901) ; "What Should Our National Holidays Commemorate?" 15, Massa chusetts Historical Society, second series, 506 (1902).