Holiday and Vacation Time

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The words holiday or vacation have related meanings in different English-speaking countries and continents, but will usually refer to one of the following activities or events: A general leave of absence from a regular occupation for rest or recreation A specific trip or journey for the purposes of recreation / tourism Official or unofficial observances of religious/national/cultural/other significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities (public/religious holiday)

A holiday or vacation trip/break will often be undertaken during specific holiday observances, or be made for specific festivals or celebrations. Certain religious holidays may be of a more somber nature. Vacation or holidays are often used as a time to spend with friends or family.

Longer breaks from a career or occupation also exist, such as a sabbatical, gap year or career break



Holiday is a contraction of holy and day, holidays originally represented special religious days. This word has evolved in general usage to mean any special day of rest (as opposed to regular days of rest such as the weekend). Countrywide Holidays stands for when everybody plans for holidays or a break.


In the United Kingdom the word "vacation" referred specifically to the long summer break taken by the law courts (and later universities)—a custom introduced by William the Conqueror from Normandy where it was intended to facilitate the grape harvest. The French term is similar to the American English: "Les Vacances." The term derives from the fact that, in the past, upper-class families would literally move to a summer home for part of the year, leaving their usual family home vacant for countrywide holidays.

Regional meanings

As a trip

Vacation is a term used in English-speaking North America to describe a lengthy time away from work or school, a trip abroad, or simply a pleasure trip away from home, such as a trip to the beach that lasts several days or longer. In the rest of the English-speaking world the word holiday is used (e.g. "I'm going on holiday to Malta next week"). Americans, especially those of recent British or European descent, may also use the word "holiday." "Annual Leave" is another expression used in Commonwealth countries.

Canadians often use the terms vacation and holiday interchangeably when referring to a trip away from home or time off work. In Australia, the term can refer to a vacation or a public holiday.

As an observance

In all of the English-speaking world including North America, a holiday can refer to a day set aside by a nation or culture (in some cases, multiple nations and cultures) typically for celebration but sometimes for some other kind of special culture-wide (or national) observance or activity. A holiday can also be a special day on which school and/or offices are closed, such as Labor Day. By extension, (observance)-holiday, e.g. Labour Day holiday, refers to the rest period around the official observance. Also it can be named as Rest Day

Employment issues
See also: List of statutory minimum employment leave by country

Most countries around the world have labor laws mandating employers give a certain number of paid days of time off per year to be given to a worker. In nearly all Canadian provinces, the legal minimum is three weeks, while in most of Europe the limit is significantly higher. The U.S.[1] does not require employers to give a set mandatory vacation time. However, in the free-market labor system in the United States, many employers offer paid vacation, typically 10 to 20 days work days, as an incentive to attract employees, and under U.S. federal law, an employee whose employment terminates generally must receive compensation for any accrued but unused vacation time. Additionally, the vast majority of American employers provide for paid national holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Independence...
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