From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
America shares two national holidays with many countries: Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Christmas Day, December 25, is a Christian holiday; it marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans. The holiday, sometimes running from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day, is also often celebrated as a nonsectarian winter holiday.
New Year's Day celebration begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year.
The national government, called the federal government, officially observes ten holidays, many or most of which are widely celebrated across the country.
|January 1||New Year's Day||celebrates beginning of year, marks traditional end of "holiday season"|
|January, third Monday||Martin Luther King Day||honors Martin Luther King, Jr, Civil Rights leader|
|February, third Monday||Presidents' Day||honors former American Presidents, especially Washington and Lincoln|
|May, last Monday||Memorial Day||honors service men and women who died in service, marks traditional beginning of summer|
|July 4||Independence Day||celebrates Declaration of Independence, usually called "The Fourth of July"|
|September, first Monday||Labor Day||celebrate achievements of workers, marks traditional end of summer|
|October, second Monday||Columbus Day||honors Christopher Columbus, traditional discover of the Americas|
|November 11||Veteran's Day||traditional observation of a moment of silence at 11 AM remembering those who fought for peace|
|November, fourth Thursday||Thanksgiving||give thanks for autumn harvest, marks traditional beginning of "holiday season"|
|December 25||Christmas||celebrates the nativity of Jesus Christ, also celebrated as secular winter holiday|
|January 20, every fourth year, following Presidential election||Inauguration Day||Observed only by federal government. Swearing-in of President of the United States and other elected federal officials. Celebrated every fourth year. Note: Takes place on January 21 if the 20th is a Sunday.|
|February 2||Groundhog Day||Prediction from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania groundhog on whether country will have six more weeks of winter. Not generally observed by businesses.|
|February 14||Valentine's Day||Traditional celebration of love and romance, and giving of valentines, candy, and flowers. Not generally observed by businesses.|
|March 17||St. Patrick's Day||A celebration of Irish heritage and culture, based on the Catholic feast of St. Patrick. Primary activity is simple wearing of green clothing ("wearing of the green"). Not generally observed by businesses.|
|April 1||April Fool's Day||This is the day to play tricks on family, friends, and coworkers, if you're the mischievous type. Not generally observed by businesses.|
|Spring Sunday, date varies||Easter||Celebrates the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy. On the next day, Easter Monday, the President of the United States holds an annual Easter egg hunt on the White House lawn for young children. The holiday is also often celebrated as a nonsectarian spring holiday. Not generally observed by most businesses.|
|May, second Sunday||Mother's Day||Not generally observed by businesses.|
|June 14||Flag Day||Honors the American flag, encourages citizens to fly the flag and study its traditions. Not generally observed by businesses.|
|June, third Sunday||Father's Day||Not generally observed by businesses.|
|depends on Hebrew calendar||Rosh Hashanah||Traditional beginning of the Jewish high holidays. Not observed by most businesses.|
|depends on Hebrew calendar||Yom Kippur||Traditional end of and highest of the Jewish high holidays. Not observed by most businesses.|
|October 31||Halloween||Celebrate All Hallow's Eve, decorations include jack o'lanterns, costume wearing parties, and candy such as candy corn are also part of the holiday. Kids go trick-or-treating to neighbors who give away candy. Not generally observed by businesses.|
|first Tuesday after Nov 1||Election Day||Observed by the federal and state governments in applicable years.|