January 26 marks Australia's national holiday, Australia Day.
Australia Day celebrates the establishment of the first settlement in Port Jackson (which is now Sydney Harbour), in 1788.
What's known as the "First Fleet", consisted of 11 ships that set sail from Great Britain and landed on this day at the Port. By 1808, January 26 was celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day”.
In 1818, the Governor of Australia gave all government employees a day off, and in the years that followed, bank employees, and other employees, were also given a holiday day.
Today, the US observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Federal holiday.
Dr. King was world-renowned for his work for the civil rights movement in America, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King, Jr. in 1924 in Atlanta, Georgia. His name was changed 10 years later, after his family visited Eisleben, Germany, the birthplace of Martin Luther, who founded Protestantism. His father, Michael King Sr., changed both his name and his son's name to Martin Luther in honor of him.
Before the holidays we offered you the chance to win a digital camera by sharing with us your favorite holiday memory or photo.
We received many beautiful photos and touching stories and it's been really difficult choosing a winner.
We decided to divide the competition into two categories - pictures and stories - and choose a winner from each.
2012 has been an incredibly exciting year at MyHeritage and, as we stand on the cusp of 2013, here's a quick look at some of the highlights.
We kicked off the year by partnering with Family Tree DNA to introduce DNA testing for genealogy. DNA genetic genealogy testing can help you discover more relatives by comparing your results to a growing database of hundreds of thousands of people.
The results may match you to a living relative with whom you share a common ancestor who may have lived hundreds of years ago.
Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally observed in the UK and Commonwealth on December 26, but has nothing to do with the sport of the same name!
Where did it originate?
There are various opinions about its origins.
One view is that it comes from a very early Christian custom where boxes were left outside of churches for people to donate offerings for the Feast of Saint Stephen.
The European belief is that it stems from a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages where people would give money and gifts to needy tradesmen. In Britain, it was customary for tradesmen to collect boxes of money or presents, as thanks for their services, much like the concept of the Christmas bonus that many companies in western countries have adopted.
In the days when wealthy aristocrats employed servants to manage their homes, servants would have to work on Christmas Day, but would be given the next day as a holiday. The masters would give the servants a box of presents and leftovers to take home to their families.
Today, Boxing Day in the UK is mainly about shopping. Most people who celebrate Christmas will have spent a large amount of time and money shopping before the holiday, buying food for their festive dinner and presents for their family. To entice people back to the stores, Boxing Day is the day retailers traditionally hold sales. In this regard, it's very similar to Black Friday in the US.
As many families come together for the holidays, Boxing Day is also a ''bonus'' family day.
Are you celebrating Boxing Day? If so, how?
Let us know in the comments below.
Many of our most special memories come from spending time with our families over the holidays.
We remember the dinners, gifts, songs and jokes we shared. Wonderful testimonials to these unique moments are the photos we will treasure for ever.
The MyHeritage team
What is it about holiday music? Those catchy tunes we can’t get out of our head? The musical notes that bring us back to earlier times?
It really doesn’t matter if the listener celebrates Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanza; that winter music - religious or secular - just gets deep inside our bones. Important family events take place at the holidays, and a particular song may bring back all kinds of warm, fuzzy memories.
A favorite of mine is "Sleigh Ride," in the instrumental version by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
Written by Leroy Anderson in 1948, Mitchell Paris added the lyrics in 1950. Here's the story behind the song. It is considered one of the top 10 most popular Christmas songs ever, even though the holiday is never mentioned in the lyrics.
It's also a great opportunity to make family history discoveries. Ask your relatives about their lives, and the lives of their parents. Asking about past family Thanksgiving celebrations can be an enjoyable conversation for all the family where you can learn how your ancestors celebrated and discover other unknown information.
Try and use the time when the family is all together to share with them what you've discovered about your collective family history. Who knows, perhaps you'll get a piece of information that will help you break down a brick wall in your research.