As the developer of this organisational utility points out, business trips and holidays abroad can be ruined – or enhanced – by the observation of public and religious holidays. MegaHolidays aims to provide information on the holidays in over 400 locations around the world (including city-specific festivals), promising the user advice on the date, duration and background of each holiday.
There’s no doubt that MegaHolidays’ index of holidays is comprehensive. With nearly 3,000 unique celebrations included, a holiday would have to be pretty obscure not to get a mention. Finding a holiday is easy: simply select the country and state you’re visiting and the year’s special days are displayed. If you’d rather search by religion, you can choose from 18 faiths’ holy days. The general user experience is simple and easy.
It’s when you start to experiment with what might be seen as the slightly more advanced features of MegaHolidays that the program starts to feel like a let down. The first example of this we noticed was when trying to filter holidays by location and religion at the same time. Given that both filters are always visible, we thought it would be reasonable to ask MegaHolidays to display, for example, the Christian holidays observed in the USA. However, it seems that once you’ve selected a place, you cannot refine that filter any further by adding a faith query. While not critical, this failure seemed to point to other, perhaps more irritating problems in the program.
MegaHolidays’ publisher proudly states in its description of the program that it includes “brief info about every holiday”. Prior to testing the program, this sounded like it would be a key feature to focus on. After all, it’s arguably pretty easy to find out which days in Chile are holidays but much harder to find out why. Sadly, though, not every holiday has a description. For example, in the United States, Veterans’ day is explained simply and precisely but no guidance is given as to the significance of Thanksgiving. The misleading claim that there was information about every holiday was a real disappointment, as were the occasional spelling errors and factual inaccuracies scattered throughout the application.
Basic integration into Memo Pad and Date Book works perfectly, making it a second’s work to add a holiday to your portable calendar. Another small feature we liked was the ‘days left’ count which allows you to view a countdown to your favourite festival from within the program window.
When it comes to letting you know when and where a holiday is taking place, MegaHolidays could prove an invaluable assistant. That said, it breaks some promises about its advanced functionality, and some of its data may be incorrect. While recommended in the absence of any real competition, MegaHolidays needs improvement before it becomes anyone’s runaway favourite.