New Year's Day is January 1. The celebration of this federal holiday begins
the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous
coming year. Many Americans make
New Year's resolutions.
Martin Luther King Day is a federal
holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January. The Reverend Martin Luther King,
Jr. was an African-American clergyman who is recognized for his tireless efforts
to win civil rights for all people through nonviolent means.
Groundhog Day is February 2, and has been celebrated since 1887. On
Groundhog Day, crowds gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to see if groundhog
Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow after emerging from his burrow, thus predicting
six more weeks of winter weather.
Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. The day was named after
an early Christian martyr, and on Valentine's Day, Americans give presents like
candy or flowers to the ones they love. The first mass-produced valentine cards
were sold in the 1840s.
Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday observed the third Monday
of February to honor
George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is
commonly called Presidents' Day and many groups honor the legacy of
past presidents on this date.
Easter falls on
a spring Sunday that varies from year to year. Easter is a Christian holiday celebrating
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.
Earth Day is observed on April 22. First celebrated in 1970 in the United
States, it inspired national legislation such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Earth Day is designed to promote ecology, encourage respect for life on earth, and
highlight concern over pollution of the soil, air, and water.
National Arbor Day was proclaimed as the last Friday in April by President
Richard Nixon in 1970. A number of state Arbor Days are observed at other times
to coincide with the best tree planting weather, from January and February in the
south to May in the far north. The observance began in 1872, when Nebraska settlers
and homesteaders were urged to plant trees on the largely treeless plains.
Mother's Day celebrates mothers every second Sunday of May. President
Woodrow Wilson, who issued a proclamation in 1914, asked Americans to give a public
expression of reverence to mothers on this day. Carnations have come to represent
Mother's Day, following President William McKinley's habit of always wearing a white
carnation, his mother's favorite flower.
Memorial Day is
a federal holiday observed the last Monday of May. It originally honored the people
killed in the American Civil War, but has become a day on which the American dead
of all wars, and the dead generally, are remembered in special programs held in
cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places. The flying of the American
flag is widespread.
Flag Day, celebrated June 14, has been a presidentially proclaimed observance
since 1916. Although Flag Day is not a federal holiday, Americans are encouraged
to display the flag outside their homes and businesses on this day to honor the
history and heritage the American flag represents.
celebrates fathers every third Sunday of June. Father's Day began in 1909 in Spokane,
Washington, when a daughter requested a special day to honor her father, a Civil
War veteran who raised his children after his wife died. The first presidential
proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson.
is July 4. This federal holiday honors the nation's birthday - the adoption of the
Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic
parades, a night of concerts and fireworks. The flying of the American flag is widespread.
Labor Day is the
first Monday of September. This federal holiday honors the nation's working people,
typically with parades. For most Americans it marks the end of the summer vacation
season and the start of the school year.
Columbus Day is a federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in
October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher
Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Halloween is celebrated
on October 31. On Halloween, American children dress up in funny or scary costumes
and go "trick or treating" by knocking on doors in their neighborhood. The neighbors
are expected to respond by giving them small gifts of candy or money.
Veterans Day is celebrated
on November 11. Originally called Armistice Day, this federal holiday was established
to honor Americans who had served in World War I, but it now honors veterans of
all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans' organizations hold parades, and
the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery in Virginia.
is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. The holiday
began in 1621, when Puritans, who had just enjoyed a bountiful harvest, showed their
gratitude to the Native Americans for their help by hosting a feast to give thanks.
The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition and almost always includes some
of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes,
and pumpkin pie.
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is December 7. In 1994, Congress designated
this national observance to honor the more than 2,400 military service personnel
who died on this date in 1941, during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii,
by Japanese forces. The attack on Pearl Harbor caused the United States to enter
World War II.
Christmas Day is a federal holiday celebrated on December 25. Christmas is
a Christian holiday marking the birth of the Christ Child. 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.
source : usa.gov