As the answers in How can I create original holidays for my world? discuss, humans in the "early days" of humankind had no science, so for questions like "why is winter coming?", religious beliefs were the only things they had. Those questions were quite important to a mostly agricultural society, so they became central to their religions and important dates. Religious holidays still reflect this: Christmas is in the middle of winter (originally the longest night in winter), Easter aligns with celebrations of spring. Thanks giving is a harvest festival.

Those agricultural dates are unimportant in a society where I can buy strawberries in December (shipped in from Australia or New Zealand). We still celebrate Christmas (or Easter, for that matter), but I think that for many people this is not for religious reasons, but just because they have always known it like this and everyone else does.

Now fast forward to a near-future setting, say, a hundred years from now. A third world war, accompanied with mass-immigration, mixed humankind pretty nicely. With people from different cultural backgrounds living in the same city, the "every one else does it" part of the story is not true any more. Also most people are atheist, so the religious meaning will be irrelevant for most people. Globalisation works as it does for us, so seasons have almost no effect on the availability of food.

What holidays/important dates does this society have? Would there still be celebrations for Christmas?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Our very technologically advanced civilization has holidays such as Towel Day and Bloomsday because we celebrate things we like. No need for antrhopological explanations. $\endgroup$ Apr 21 '19 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ You are assuming that "holiday" is still a meaningful term in an "always on" technologically advanced society where the majority of people probably cannot find work to take a holiday from. Even if this is untrue, hard to see how any answers will not entirely opinion based given the information available. $\endgroup$ Apr 22 '19 at 1:06
  • $\begingroup$ Which country, the united states will probably always celebrate a christmas like holiday, Cambodia not so much. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 22 '19 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ What's wrong with January 1st (New Year's Day), March 8th (International Women's Day), May 1st (International Labor Day), June 1st (International Children's Day), August 23rd (National Anti-Fascist Armed Insurrection Day), November 7th (Great Socialist Revolution Day) and December 30th (Republic Day)? Do you see now why the question is definitely opinion-based? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Apr 22 '19 at 14:11

There are a great many reasons that holidays are declared. Note that my examples are predominantly (if not completely) U.S.-centric. The list of examples isn't by any stretch of the imagination comprehensive.

  • Political/Nationalistic (Independence Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, President's Day, Labor Day, Election Day, and locally, Founder's Day).

  • Honoring Important People (Martin Luther King Jr Day, Columbus Day, Washington's Birthday)

  • Celebrating Victory (modern Thanksgiving Day, VE Day, Pearl Harbor Day)

  • Annual Fun/Calendar Days (New Year's Day, Groundhog day, April Fool's Day, Oktoberfest, Juhanuus(the Finnish celebration of the longest day of the year))

  • Community Honors (Arbor Day, Teacher's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day)

  • Sports (Superbowl Sunday)

I'm intentionally ignoring all the special interest and commercial holidays (e.g., national fruitcake day, Black Friday, etc.). Really, the question is, "what's important to your society?" The U.S. is a bit bezerk nowadays, and so "holidays" (or "special interest days") are a dime-a-dozen. but I think the list above is more-or-less comprehensive for non-religious holiday justifications.

I'm going to try an experiment. This site has problems with Primarily Opinion-Based questions (from either SE's perspective or our own) and this question is definitely POB. There's simply no way for the OP to judge a "best answer." It's a byproduct of the fact that we're using Stack Exchange in a way SE wasn't intended for: to answer creative throw-spaghetti-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks idea-generation questions. But it's a bit unfair that OP's can't get help and we can't participate with challenging questions simply because there isn't a perfect fit into the SE mold.

So, I'm setting this answer as a Community Wiki. Everybody is welcome to add their ideas to help the OP — and nobody gets rep for the answers. That's the price paid for allowing a raw-idea-generation question. If this works, I'll propose in Meta that we try this some more and see what happens. It might be a reasonable solution to the problem. If it doesn't work, we'll continue to close POB questions.

Therefore, if you have a specific category of non-religious justifications for a government-supported day off (call it a "holiday"), add it to the bullet list above. If you have an idea for a specific day, add it to the list below. And thanks!

Potential unique holidays for your world (totally opinion-based)

World Peace Day—Celebrates the end of WWIII (alt. Armistice Day)

Lrrr from Omicron Persei 8 Day—Celebrating the political leader of the winning side of WWIII.

  • $\begingroup$ "Superbowl Sunday" isn't a special interest & commercial holiday? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Apr 22 '19 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf, Oh, yeah, it's an SI&C holiday. But I decided to give sports their own category as they actually raise the morale of the country (compared to National Fruitcake Day, which actually might... for totally different reasons). $\endgroup$ Apr 22 '19 at 5:16

Major holidays will be celebrated, what people do during said holidays however may change. wars are really good at changing how holidays are celebrated but at the same time tend to reinforce the major holidays. Even during the largest wars people celebrate holidays. Wars however can change how holidays are celebrated, WW1 changed halloween from a adult drinking and rioting holiday into a more child oriented celebration.

things like callenders and government holidays reinforce holidays and help preserve them, and communication both encourages holidays to become more localized (that is how they are celebrated becomes more unique to a country) but also help add new ways of celebrating, wars which tend to evolve a lot of migration really helps expose new holidays and forms of celebration, often encouraging similar holidays to merge.

lastly advertising and mass communication also encourage change one families traditions can quickly become widespread with the right news coverage or movie. Companies trying to sell things can also change how we celebrate, like how cards are everywhere now and how santa is now fat thanks to coca cola.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.