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An anniversary (from the Latin anniversarius, from the words for year and to turn, meaning (re)turning yearly; known in English since c. 1230) is a day that commemorates and/or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event. The word was first used for the Christian feasts to commemorate the saints.

Anniversary namesEdit

  • Birthdays (v.) are the most common type of anniversary, where the birth date of a person is commemorated annually. The actual celebration is sometimes moved for practical reasons, as in the case of an official birthday.

The Latin phrase dies natalis (literally birth day) has become a common term, adopted in many languages, especially in intellectual and institutional circles, for the anniversary of the founding ('legal or statutory birth') of an institution, such as an alma mater (college or other school). Even in ancient Rome, we know of the [dies] Aquilae natalis ('birthday of the eagle', anniversary of the official founding of a legion).

Most countries around the world celebrate national anniversaries, for example the United States Bicentennial. These could be the date of independence of the nation or the adoption of a new constitution or form of government. The important dates in a sitting monarch's reign may also be commemorated.

Anniversaries of nations are usually marked by the number of years elapsed described Latin words or Roman numerals.


Anniversary symbolsEdit

Many anniversaries have special names. Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home by Emily Post, published in 1922, contained suggestions for wedding anniversary gifts for 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 and 75 years.[1] Wedding anniversary gift suggestions for other years were added in later editions and publications; they now comprise what is referred to as the "traditional" list. Generally speaking, the longer the period, the more precious and/or durable the material associated with it. See wedding anniversary for a general list of the wedding anniversary symbols, however there are variations in some national traditions.

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