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.
As we approach the end of 2012, we reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
Many people use the new beginning to make a New Year resolution. Whether it's about achieving a goal, or becoming a better person, people like to start the year with an objective - something they want to accomplish during the 12 months ahead.
We're interested to know whether this happens in your family. Do you make family New Year resolutions? Perhaps you'll resolve to spend more time together, or research more of your family history?
Let us know in the poll below:
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.
For many of us, the holidays are about family time.
Presents, food, jokes, games, are all part of the traditional celebrations and experiences that we look forward to sharing with our families each and every year.
We want to know whether you have a special family game you play during the holidays. Let us know in the poll below.
(P.S.: Don't forget our holiday competition for your chance to win a digital camera!)
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.
Whether you'll be visiting close relatives or meeting with distant cousins, family get-togethers are the perfect way to find out more about your family history.
Want to add more information to your family tree or inspire the younger generations to get involved? Here are three simple tips to turn your next family gathering into a genealogy opportunity!
1. Ask relatives to bring an old family object
Documenting the story of a family treasure can be an great tool to increase understanding about your family history. Whether a letter, card, ornament, jewelry or recipe, encourage relatives to bring something to show everyone. These items can bring interesting stories to life and provide new family information.