A Guide to American Holidays and Celebrations
The United States of America is often referred to as a melting pot of cultures owing to the diverse range of people who live in the country. This diversity is reflected in the many holidays and celebrations that are observed across the US each year. From the more widely known celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving to lesser-known observances, this guide aims to give you a rundown of the most significant holidays and celebrations in America.
New Year’s Day – January 1st
The first day of the year is observed as New Year’s Day in the United States. Traditionally, people mark the day with parties, fireworks, and parades. Many people make New Year’s resolutions, which are personal goals or promise to themselves to kick-start the year on a positive note.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Third Monday in January
This day honors the civil rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, close to his birthday, which falls on January 15th. The day is typically marked with parades, speeches, and other events celebrating the work of the Civil Rights Movement.
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated globally, and the United States is no exception. The day is marked with the exchange of gifts, cards, and flowers between loved ones. While Valentine’s Day is primarily associated with romantic love, it’s also an opportunity to express love and appreciation for parents, siblings, and friends.
Presidents Day – Third Monday in February
Presidents Day is observed on the third Monday in February in honor of the first President of the United States, George Washington. It’s also a day to celebrate all other presidents who have served the country. The holiday is marked by parades, speeches, and other events.
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in honor of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It’s observed with parades, festivals, and other events, mostly featuring the color green, which is symbolic of Ireland. Many people wear green clothes, eat traditional Irish foods and drinks, and attend parades.
Easter Sunday – First Sunday after the First Full Moon after March 21st
Easter is a Christian holiday observed across the world, and in the United States, it’s usually a time for family gatherings and religious activities. The holiday is marked by attending church services, eating Easter eggs, and enjoying time with friends and families.
Memorial Day – Last Monday of May
This federal holiday is observed in honor of the men and women who lost their lives while serving their country in the military. The day is marked with parades, speeches, and other activities honoring the sacrifices of the military personnel.
Independence Day – July 4th
Independence Day is a federal holiday celebrated on July 4th, commemorating the independence of the United States from Great Britain. The day is marked with fireworks, parades, concerts, and other activities typically featuring the red, white, and blue colors of the American flag.
Labor Day – First Monday in September
This holiday honors the American labor movement and the contributions of workers to the growth and development of the country. Many people mark the day with barbecues, picnics, and parades.
Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a time for families to come together to express gratitude for the blessings they’ve received throughout the year. Turkey is the traditional meal served on Thanksgiving Day, and the holiday is marked with parades, football games, and other festivities.
Christmas Day – December 25th
Christmas Day is observed in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the holiday is marked by the exchange of gifts, singing Christmas carols, and decorating homes with Christmas trees and other festive decorations. The day typically winds down with a family dinner.
American holidays and celebrations are a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural backgrounds, and each celebration holds significance for the people who commemorate it. Whether it’s through food, rituals, or traditions, these holidays offer a unique opportunity to connect with family, friends, and the larger community.