List of New Zealand's Holidays and Celebrations
New Zealand has a lot of fun holidays. Many of them are cultural as they are a multicultural nation.
New Years - January 1-2
New Zealand is one of the first countries that gets to celebrate New Years because of its location. The day is often spent with family and friends and can include fairs, outdoor games, and/or hanging out on the beach as New Years is in the summer. January 2 is often a day off as well so everyone can unwind and perhaps use that time to enjoy a vacation with their families.
Waitangi Day - February 6
Waitangi Day is New Zealand's National holiday to remember the signing of the Waitangi Treaty which allowed New Zealand to become part of the British Empire in 1840. This allowed them to have the rights of British citizens and land rights. There is often concerts and festivals that can be attended to experience the Maori culture. Though this is a public holiday, there is a lot of controversy over the Treaty so the day is filled with celebration, debate, and education.
Valentine's Day - February 14
Valentine's Day is a day where individuals show their love and appreciation for one another usually in regards to one's significant other. It is often celebrated with gifts, dinners, and/or parties.
April Fool's Day - April 1
April Fools Day is a day to pull fun pranks and jokes on one another followed by the phrase "April Fools."
Good Friday - Friday before Easter
Good Friday is a day of remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ.
Easter - The Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon
Easter is the day Christians celebrate Christ's ressurection from death. Often times families will go on vacation between Good Friday and Easter and enjoy each other's company.
Easter Monday - The Day after Easter
Easter Monday is the last day of a four day weekend for the people of New Zealand. They will finish up the rest of their Easter actvities or just enjoy their final day off.
ANZAC Day - April 25
ANZAC Day is a day of remembrance of when Australian and New Zealand Corps landed at Gallipoli duding World War I in the year 1915. Their goal was to capture the peninsula. ANZAC Day honors all the soldiers who died and continues on today to honor and celebrate all those who served and continue to serve their country.
They often have parades and services on ANZAC Day. Some go down to Gallipoli itself and have a service there.
Mother's Day - Second Sunday in the month of May
Mother's Day is set aside to honor one's mother. Many times to celebrate, people will buy gifts, cards, and/or take their mother out to a nice dinner to make her feel loved for all the hard work and love she's shown over the years.
Queen's Birthday - First Monday of June
New Zealand celebrates the queen's birthday as they are part of the commonwealth. Most get the day off as an extended weekend. The Queen releases the "Queen's Birthday Honors" list which honors specific people for their service to the country. Interestingly enough, the Queen's birthday is not even in June; it's April 21.
Father's Day - First Sunday in September
Father's Day is to honor fathers for their hard work in providing and loving their families. Often times gifts or cards will be given and/or families will go out and do an activity their father enjoys.
Labour Day - Fourth Monday in October
Labour Day is a day to relax and to remember the challenge it was to recieve an 8 hour work day. Sometimes parades or protests occur for worker's rights.
Halloween - October 31
Halloween is a holiday especially loved by children. They often get to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. Lots of parties are held for both children and/or adults.
Diwali/Deepavali - 15th Day of Kartika in the Hindu Callendar (October/Nevember)
Diwali/Deepavali Day (also known as the festival of lights) marks the New Year in the Hindu calender. Often times people will host celebrations for about five days to experience some traditional Indian culture.
Festival of Lights
Christmas Eve/Christmas Day - December 24-25
Christmas is a holiday to celebrate Christ's birth. Lots of parties are held this time of year with family and friends. It's usually known for its "cheery" spirit. Gifts are exchanged and houses and trees are decorated with lights. Children love Christmas morning as they get to open their presents. Often times, families will share a big meal together and eat lots of sweets to add to all the fun.
Boxing Day - December 26
Employers will often give their employees a gift on Boxing Day. There are different ideas on how it was all started, but many believe it was for employers to give extra clothing, food, or money to their emplyees given in a box; or back in the day, for the lords to give their tenants better supplies for the next year. Other beliefs state that it is when churches opened their "poor" box.
New Years Eve - December 31
New Years Eve is the day before New Years. People gather together and have parties and sometimes fireworks. Many will stay up til midnight and count down those last few seconds to the New Year.