Happy Holiday: The Meaning of “Holiday”

The words we use in our languages are seldom new. Most words have origins in Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, in languages that preceded our modern-day words.

I find it interesting to look up the origin of words that are common in our day-to-day world. We do have our present-day use and meaning, filling those words with emotional responses and memories from our own experiences. But many words have origins with meanings long forgotten.

Today I brought focus to the word “holiday”, and sought to find the answer to its origin. This came about as I turned to others and said “have a happy holiday weekend”. The word holiday comes from old English, and means “Holy Day”.

Many of our holidays, at least in years past, were days of religious meaning, and so the term “holy day” truly does fit. Every culture observes its special days, with rituals observed and focus brought to a belief or intention. While those days of observance are still in place they are not always in the general public eye like our national holidays. So days like Halloween give us fun and mischief in great fanfare, with little focus on the fact that it is the eve of the religious “All Saints Day”. Christmas day is seen more for decorations and presents than it is as the birth day of a man known as Jesus, the Christ.

As I walked past a friend today, again saying “happy holidays” I found myself thinking not of the birth or the presents, but drifting off into the phonetic sound of “holiday”. Holly has been used as symbolic decoration during the holiday season, with its interesting design, deep green color, and bright red berries.

This song of holly is an old Christmas carol that dates back to the 17th or 18th century:

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

May your day be merry and bright.
Happy Holidays from IntuitiveMeaning.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>