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I don't really get when we should use the pattern "[the] day of [the] subject" and when it's "[Subject] day". One example is "The day of the Dead" VS "Independence Day" and not "The day of Independence".

From other examples I found I feel like "the day of..." is used for undefined, vague events with no fixed days (the day of the Lord, the day of reckoning) or as a construct for style and that "[Subject] Day" is the usual term when talking about a specific, known, event, but I couldn't find sources confirming that.

So the question can be summed up to when do you use the construct "[the] day of [the] subject and when is it "Subject day"?

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  • There's no rule. You have to learn the correct names for the holidays. It's like some universities are "University of X" while others are "X University"
    – gotube
    Jul 20, 2021 at 2:17

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It is largely a matter of historical accident which term is normally used for what event. "The day of the Dead" is in fact a fixed holiday, and "the day of the Lord" is a fixed day of the week (Sunday in Christian usage). In some cases both forms are used. For example both "The day of Judgement" and "Judgement Day" are often used. Also "The day of the Game" and "Game day" are used to refer to some specific, and usually important, game. Similarly "the day of the exam" and 'exam day" are both used.

I am afraid there is no general rule which can be applied as to which is the usual form in any given case.

"X day" pretty much always refers to a specific, known event (although the date may not be known). "The day of X" may or may not refer to a specific event.

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    Actually the Lord's Day is the more usual term for Sunday. the Day of the Lord being a reference to the apocalyptic 'Day of Judgment'. Dec 3, 2020 at 10:26

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