Public holidays in the United States
For constitutional reasons, the United States does not have national holidays in the sense that most other nations do, i.e. days on which all businesses are closed by law and employees have a day off. Pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, the U.S. federal government only has constitutional jurisdiction to establish holidays for itself, for certain federally chartered and regulated businesses (such as federal banks), and for Washington, D.C.; otherwise, constitutional authority to create public holidays is a power reserved to the states. Most states also allow local jurisdictions (cities, villages, etc.) to establish their own local holidays. As a result, holidays are not governed at the federal level as each state has jurisdiction over its holidays. Although holidays are declared as official, the government, whether it be federal, state or local, cannot dictate to businesses when they need to officially close.
As of 2012[update], there are eleven federal holidays in the United States, ten annual holidays and one quadrennial holiday (Inauguration Day). Pursuant to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 (effective 1971), official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year's Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
All current federal holidays have also been made public holidays in all 50 states. States are not bound to observe the holidays on the same dates as the federal holidays but they are free to do as they will. Many states also have additional holidays that are not observed by the U.S. federal government, such as Cesar Chavez Day (California, Colorado, and Texas), Emancipation Day (District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Susan B. Anthony Day (California, Florida, New York, Wisconsin, and West Virginia), and Good Friday (a legal holiday in 12 states). The day after Thanksgiving is a public holiday in California.
Malls, shopping centers and most retail stores close only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and many on Easter Sunday as well, but remain open on all other holidays (early closing on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and sometimes on other major holidays). Virtually all companies observe and close on the "major" holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Some non-retail business close on the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) while some (such as federal banks and post offices) are not allowed to close on the day after Thanksgiving. Some smaller businesses normally open on Sunday will close on Easter Sunday, if it is their experience they will have very few customers that day.
- 1 Federal holidays
- 2 Trading holidays
- 3 Bank holidays
- 4 Religious and cultural holidays
- 5 Legal holidays by states
- 6 Other holidays locally observed
- 7 Non-holiday notable days
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Federal holidays are designated by Congress in Title V of the United States Code (5 U.S.C. § 6103). Federal holiday is a day off for federal employees, which also means that postal offices are also closed. Post offices are also closed for half days on Christmas and New Year's Eve. Most private companies and certain other businesses observe federal holidays as well, or the big holidays. If a holiday falls on a Saturday it is celebrated the preceding Friday; if a holiday falls on a Sunday it is celebrated the following Monday. Most, but not all, states and most private businesses also observe a Sunday holiday on the following Monday.
There is no generally accepted policy, however, on whether to observe a Saturday holiday on the preceding Friday or the following Monday. Most states and private businesses may observe on the preceding Friday, some may observe it on the following Monday, and some may not observe the holiday at all in those years. In particular, banks that close on Saturdays do not observe a holiday when it falls on Saturday.
|January 1 (Fixed)||New Year's Day||Celebrates beginning of the Gregorian calendar year. Festivities include counting down to midnight (12:00 AM) on the preceding night, New Year's Eve, often with fireworks display and party. The ball drop at Times Square in New York City has become a national New Year's festivity. Traditional end of Christmas and holiday season.|
|Third Monday in January||Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.||Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader, who was actually born on January 15, 1929; combined with other holidays in several states. Some cities and municipalities hold parades; and more recently, the 1994 King Holiday and Service Act, which was passed to encourage Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service, has gained in popularity (sometimes referred to as a National Day of Service).|
|First January 20 following a Presidential election||Inauguration Day||Observed only by federal government employees in Washington, D.C., and the border counties of Maryland and Virginia to relieve congestion that occurs with this major event. Swearing-in of President of the United States and Vice President of the United States. Celebrated every fourth year. Note: Takes place on January 21 if the 20th is a Sunday (although the President is still privately inaugurated on the 20th). If Inauguration Day falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is not a federal holiday.|
|Third Monday in February (Presidents' Day)||Washington's Birthday||Washington's Birthday was first declared a federal holiday by an 1879 act of Congress. The Uniform Holidays Act, 1968, shifted the date of the commemoration of Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February (between February 15 and 21, meaning the observed holiday never falls on Washington's actual birthday). Because of this, combined with the fact that President Lincoln's birthday falls on February 12, many people now refer to this holiday as "Presidents' Day" and consider it a day honoring all American presidents. However, neither the Uniform Holidays Act nor any subsequent law changed the name of the holiday from Washington's Birthday to Presidents' Day.|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day||Honors the nation's war dead from the Civil War onwards; marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season. (traditionally May 30, shifted by the Uniform Holidays Act 1968)|
|July 4||Independence Day||Celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from British rule, also called the Fourth of July. Fireworks celebration are held in many cities throughout the nation.|
|First Monday in September||Labor Day||Celebrates the achievements of workers and the labor movement; marks the unofficial end of the summer season.|
|Second Monday in October||Columbus Day||Honors Christopher Columbus, traditional discoverer of the Americas. In some areas it is also a celebration of Italian culture and heritage. (traditionally October 12)|
|November 11||Veterans Day||Honors all veterans of the United States armed forces. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect).|
|Fourth Thursday in November||Thanksgiving Day||Traditionally celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. Traditionally includes the sharing of a turkey dinner. Traditional start of the Christmas and holiday season.|
|December 25||Christmas||The most widely celebrated holiday of the Christian year, Christmas is observed as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.|
Abolished federal holidays
In 1975, the one notable holiday called Victory Day, also called "VJ Day" and "Victory over Japan Day" was abolished after being in place since 1948. At this time, only one state in the union still celebrates it. According to this article and other sources, some claim the holiday to be "racist" and generally encourages "hate" against the Japanese Americans, and for that matter, other races from Asia. Also, the fact that an atomic bomb was used to end the war with Japan is also cause for its abolition. Today, only the U.S. state of Rhode Island still officially observes this day with public offices and schools being closed.
Proposed federal holidays
Many proposed federal holidays have come up over time. According to an article from CBS, federal holidays are generally "expensive" and they only allow federal workers to take the day off. As the U.S. federal government is a large employer, the holidays are expensive. If a holiday is controversial, opposition will generally cause bills that propose such holidays to die. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, for example, was one that took much effort to pass. And once it did pass, it took more effort for all states to eventually recognize it.
The following list is an example of holidays that have been proposed and have reasons why they are not observed at the federal level today. Some of the holidays are observed at the state level.
|Third Monday of February||Susan B. Anthony Day||The holiday was proposed by Carolyn Maloney in a H. R. 655 on February 11, 2011. Today, the bill is dead.|
|Last Monday of March||Cesar Chavez Day||The holiday was proposed California Democrat Joe Baca in H.R. 76 and was further endorsed by President Barack Obama|
|Third Monday in May||Malcolm X Day||The holiday was proposed in H.R. 323 in 1993 and 1994 by Congressman Charles Rangel.|
|June 14||Flag Day||Proposed several times, but only to become a national observance when President Harry Truman signed it into law as such.|
|Third Monday of September||Native Americans' Day||The holiday was petitioned for multiple times and was introduced into Congress multiple time, but was unsuccessful The proclamation exists today as the "Native American Awareness Week."|
|First Tuesday after November 1||Election Day||There have been multiple movements for this holiday to be official, with the last happening in with the "1993 Motor Voter Act", mainly to boost voter turnout.|
The Congress has designated various United States federal observances—days, weeks, months, and other periods for the observance, commemoration, or recognition of events, individuals, or other topics. These observances do not have the status of holidays in that federal employees do not receive any days free from work for observances.
- See also New York Stock Exchange
Trading holidays of the New York Stock Exchange closely resembles those designated as federal holidays except for Columbus Day and Veterans Day. A total of nine days are designated, which includes Good Friday where trading is not done.
The official list is as follows:
U.S. bank holidays are generally the same as those observed at the federal level, but depend on the bank. For example, JP Morgan Chase observes all federal holidays except Columbus Day. U.S. Bank on the other hand observes all of the federal holidays.
Religious and cultural holidays
The religious and cultural holidays in the United States is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. However, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Although the United States was founded upon Christian principles, Christianity is not mandated. As a result, various religious faiths have flourished, as well as perished, in the United States. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a "very important" role in their lives, a proportion unique among developed nations.
The majority of Americans (73–80%) identify themselves as Christians and about 15–20% have no religious affiliation. According to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) (2008) 76% of the American adult population identified themselves as Christians, with 51% professing attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant or unaffiliated, and 25% professing Catholic beliefs. The same survey says that other religions (including, for example, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism) collectively make up about 4% of the adult population, another 15% of the adult population claim no religious affiliation, and 5.2% said they did not know, or they refused to reply. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew forum, 36 percent of Americans state that they attend services nearly every week or more.
Christian holidays: Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas
In the United States, Christmas is a government holiday while Good Friday is not at the federal level. Good Friday however is a state holiday in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. State and local government offices and courts are closed, as well as some banks and postal offices in these states, and in those counties and municipalities where Good Friday is observed as holiday. Good Friday is also a holiday in U.S. territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
While almost all stores are virtually closed on Christmas, many stores are still open. For example, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy remain open. A reference in A Christmas Story shows a Chinese restaurant being the only establishment open on Christmas. Also, many Jewish establishments remain open on Christmas, but will close on Hannukah instead.
Some private businesses and certain other institutions are closed on Good Friday. The financial market and stock market is closed on Good Friday. Most retail stores remain open although some might close early. Public schools and most universities are closed on Good Friday, either as a holiday of its own, or part of spring break. The postal service operates, and banks regulated by the federal government do not close for Good Friday.
Easter is recognized as a flag day but has not been a federal holiday due to falling always on a Sunday, which is a non-working day for federal and state employees. However, many companies, including banks, malls, shopping centers and most private retail stores that normally open on Sundays are closed on Easter.
|January 6||Epiphany||Epiphany (from Greek epiphaneia, "manifestation"), falls on the 12th day after Christmas. It commemorates the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, as represented by the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the miracle of the wine at the marriage feast at Cana. One of the three major Christian festivals, along with Christmas and Easter. Epiphany originally marked the beginning of the carnival season preceding Lent, and the evening preceding it is known as Twelfth Night.|
|January 7||Orthodox Christmas||January 7th is the Gregorian Calendar equivalent of December 25 on the Julian Calendar still observed by the Russian and other Eastern Orthodox Churches.|
|February 14||Valentine's Day||St. Valentine's Day, or simply Valentine's Day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. Modern traditional celebration of love and romance, including the exchange of cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts.|
|February or March, date varies||Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday||A festive season (Carnival) leading up to Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Closes with Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays), which starts the penitential season of Lent in the Western Christian calendar.|
|March 17||St. Patrick's Day||A holiday honoring Saint Patrick that celebrates Irish culture. Primary activity is simply the wearing of green clothing ("wearing o' the green"), although drinking beer dyed green is also popular. Big parades in some cities, such as in Chicago, where there is also a tradition of dying the Chicago River green.|
|Sunday before Easter||Palm Sunday||Celebration to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.|
|The Friday before (western) Easter||Good Friday||Friday of Holy Week, when Western Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Good Friday is a holiday in some individual counties and municipalities, as well as a state holiday in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. State and local government offices and courts are closed, as well as state-chartered banks and in these jurisdictions. Federal banks and post offices that are located in buildings that close for Good Friday and Easter will also be closed. Good Friday is also a holiday in U.S. territories of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Many public and private schools, colleges, universities and private-sector businesses; and the New York Stock Exchange and financial markets are closed on Good Friday.|
|Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, date varies from March 22 to April 25, inclusive (see Computus),||Easter||Celebration of the resurrection of Jesus in most Western Christian churches. A minority of Protestant churches do not observe Easter. Eastern Orthodox (including Western Rite), Oriental Orthodox and some Neo-Celtic churches observe Easter according to a different calendar, usually on a later Sunday (thus they also observe Palm Sunday and Good Friday on different days than Western Christians).
Many Americans decorate hard-boiled eggs and give baskets of candy, fruit, toys and so on, especially to children; but gifts of age-appropriate Easter baskets for the elderly, the infirm and the needy are increasingly popular. An annual Easter Egg Roll has been held at the White House South Lawn for young children on Easter Monday since President Hayes started the tradition in 1878. Not a federal holiday due to the fact that it always falls on a Sunday, which is a non-working day for federal and state employees. Many companies that are normally open on Sunday close for Easter.
|October 31||Halloween||Originally the end of the Celtic year, it now celebrates Eve of All Saint's Day. Decorations include jack o'lanterns. Costume 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.|
|December 8||Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary||Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Catholic Church maintaining that the Virgin Mary was kept free of original sin from her moment of conception. Companies in some states will give day off to their employees.|
|December 24||Christmas Eve||Day before Christmas. Virtually every business closes early, though a few remain open 24 hours.|
Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur
According to various sources, the two most commonly celebrated Jewish holidays are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hannukah. Passover and Yom Kippur in addition to Rosh Hashannah and Hannukah are recognized as an optional state level holiday in the U.S. state of Texas
|March/April/May (depends on Hebrew Calendar)||Passover||A seven- or eight-day festival in Judaism, commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. For Karaite Jews, Passover is the holiest day of the year and is the festival that marks the beginning of the year. Some Christian groups celebrate Passover instead of Easter. In many regions with large Jewish communities, schools close for all or part of Passover.|
|September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)||Rosh Hashanah||Observed by Jewish people. Traditional beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. It also celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Hebrew calendar. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close on Rosh Hashanah. This holiday is observed for one day in Israel and for 2 days outside Israel, the Diaspora.|
|September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)||Yom Kippur||Observed by Jewish people.
This day marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that began with Rosh Hashanah. It is described in Leviticus as a "Sabbath of rest," and synagogue services begin the preceding sundown, resume the following morning, and continue to sundown. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close on Yom Kippur.
|November/December/January (depends on Hebrew calendar)||Hanukkah||An eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close for part of Hanukkah.|
Hindu holidays: Diwali and Holi
According to some sources, the Hindu holidays of Diwali and Holi are commonly celebrated as a "mainstream" holiday throughout the United States, not only by Indian Americans or peoples of Indian descent. Many firms that hire a people from India will even go as far as observing the holidays with a celebration within the company or even approving it as a paid day off. Holi, the "festival of colors" has inspired a Broadway musical based on this festival. New York City Council has voted on a resolution that may make Diwali and Holi a legal holiday in Resolution 1863-2013. As of August 2013, the resolution has passed and the holidays are now officially legal holidays in New York City.
|February or March (depends on Hindu calendar)||Holi||Holi (English pronunciation: //) (Sanskrit: होली) is a spring festival also known as festival of colours, and sometimes festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.|
|October or November (depends on Hindu calendar)||Diwali||Diwali (English pronunciation: //) also called the "festival of lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartik. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.|
Muslim holidays: Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha
According to various sources, the major holidays of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha have been recognized in the United States. Awareness of these holidays can be found in calendars published by major calendar manufacturers.  According to Al-Jazeera, schools in the U.S. states of New York and Michigan (mainly Dearborn) may begin to close in observance of all Muslim holidays.
|July or August (depends on Muslim calendar)||Ramadan||Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[variations] Persian: رَمَضان Ramazān; Urdu: رَمْضان Ramzān; Turkish: Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar; Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths. The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is fard ("obligatory") for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding. Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha'aban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina.|
|July or August (depends on Muslim calendar)||Eid al-Fitr||Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ʻĪd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕiːd al fitˤr], "festival of breaking of the fast"), also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), the Sweet Festival and the Lesser Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day and Muslims are not permitted to fast on that day. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However, in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia.|
|September or October (depends on Muslim calendar)||Eid al-Adha||Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ʿīd al-aḍḥā [ʕiːd ælˈʔɑdˤħæ] meaning "Festival of the sacrifice"), also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival, the Greater Eid, Kurban Bayram (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı; Bosnian: kurban-bajram), Eid e Qurban (Persian: عید قربان) or Bakr'Eid (Urdu: بکرا عید), is the second of two religious holidays celebrated by Muslims worldwide each year. It honors the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ishmael (Ismail)a as an act of submission to God's command, before God then intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead. In the lunar-based Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days. In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.|
Other religious, traditional, and informal holidays celebrated in the United States
In addition to the federal/national holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by businesses as holidays (Except for Easter and most often also on Good Friday); indeed, many are viewed as opportunities for commercial promotion. Because of this commercialization, some critics apply the deprecatory term Hallmark holiday to such days, after the Hallmark greeting card company.
|January or February||Lunar New Year||First day of the year in the lunar calendar, traditionally used by many East Asian communities.|
|February 2||Groundhog Day||The day on which folklore states that the behavior of a groundhog emerging from its burrow is said to predict the onset of Spring in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.|
|March 8||International Women's Day||A day set aside to honor women and their accomplishments in history.|
|April 1||April Fools' Day||A day that people commonly play tricks or jokes on family, friends, and co-workers, especially in English-speaking nations. Sometimes called "the Feast of All Fools" as a play on the feast days of saints; there is no evidence the holiday has any Christian religious origins.|
|April 22 (varies by location and observance)||Earth Day||A celebration of environmentalism.|
|Last Friday in April||Arbor Day||A day for planting trees.|
|May 1||May Day||In most other countries, May 1 is International Workers' Day, the equivalent of Labor Day, and some Americans do observe May 1 in that context. But before it was a labor-related holiday, May Day was a Celtic and English holiday that celebrated the transition from Spring to Summer, and it is that holiday that those Americans and Canadians who still celebrate May Day call to mind.|
|May 5||Cinco de Mayo||Primarily a celebration of Mexican culture by Mexican-Americans living in the United States. Although this is the anniversary of the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, Cinco de Mayo is far more important in the USA than in Mexico itself, often celebrated even by non-Mexican-Americans. Additionally, this "holiday" is often mistaken by Americans as being Mexican Independence Day, which is actually observed on September 16.|
|Second Sunday in May||Mother's Day||Honors mothers and motherhood (made a "federal holiday" by Presidential order, although most federal agencies are already closed on Sundays)|
|First Sunday in June||Children's Day||Proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2001 to honor children.|
|June 14||Flag Day||Commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, in 1777.|
|June 27||Helen Keller Day||Commemorates the achievements of Helen Keller and the blind.|
|Third Sunday in June||Father's Day||Honors fathers and fatherhood.|
|August 26||Women's Equality Day||Celebrates the fight for, and progress towards, equality for women. Established by the United States Congress in 1971 to commemorate two anniversaries: Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ensuring Woman Suffrage in 1920 and a nation-wide demonstration for equal rights, the Women's Strike for Equality, in 1970.|
|First Sunday after Labor Day||Grandparent's Day||Similar to Mother's/Father's Day but honoring grandparents and grandparenthood.|
|September 11||Patriot Day||Commemorates the attacks on the World Trade Center (New York City), The Pentagon (Washington, D.C.), and United Airlines Flight 93 in 2001.|
|September 17||Constitution/Citizenship Day||Commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.|
|October 6||German-American Day||Commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld near the Rhine landed in Philadelphia. These families subsequently founded in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies.|
|October 9||Leif Erikson Day||Honors Leif Erikson, the Norse Viking explorer, who led the first Europeans to discover and set foot in the New World.|
|First Tuesday after the first Monday in November||Election Day||Observed by the federal and state governments in applicable years; legal holiday in some states.|
|Day After Thanksgiving||Black Friday||Traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. "Black Friday" is not a holiday under that name, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees. Virtually all schools, colleges, and universities are also closed, along with many non-retail private sector businesses. Federal government offices, post offices and federally chartered banks must open on Black Friday (unless the President issues an executive order or proclamation allowing them to close). It is called "Black Friday" because it begins the sales period when most American retailers make their profits for the year. Contrary to popular belief, Black Friday is not the busiest sales day of the year (that honor belongs to Christmas Eve, December 24). Rather, it is the barometer by which retailers are able to gauge December sales and whether they will indeed end the year "in the black" (instead of "in the red"). A busy Black Friday almost invariably indicates a busy shopping season, while poor sales on Black Friday usually herald a very slow season.|
|December 7||Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day||Day to mourn the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.|
|December 26 through January 1||Kwanzaa||African American holiday celebration created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga|
|December 31||New Year's Eve||Final Day of the Gregorian year. Usually accompanied by much celebration, such as party and fireworks. Virtually every company and retail outlet closes early, except for stores that sell alcoholic beverages and party supplies.|
Legal holidays by states
- Not to be confused with tax holidays
|State||3rd Monday in January||February 4||February 12th||3rd Monday in February||February 15||March 31st||Variable date in April||April 16||3rd Monday in April||Variable date||1st Monday in June||2nd Monday in October||Tuesday after 1st Monday in November (in even-numbered years)||Friday after 4th Thursday in November||December 24||December 25||December 31|
|Martin Luther King, Jr. Day[a]||Rosa Parks Day||Lincoln's Birthday||Washington's Birthday[b]||Susan B. Anthony Day||César Chávez Day||Good Friday||Emancipation Day||Patriots' Day||Confederate Memorial Day||Jefferson Davis Day||Columbus Day||General Election Day||Day after Thanksgiving||Christmas Eve||New Year's Eve|
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
(with Jefferson's Birthday)
|No||No||No||No||No||Fourth Monday in April||Yes||Yes
(with Fraternal Day and American Indian Heritage Day)
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
(with Daisy Gatson Bates Day)
|Georgia||Yes||No||No||December 24th||No||No||No||No||No||April 26th (observed on fourth Monday in April)||No||Yes||No||Robert E. Lee Day||Washington's Birthday||No||No|
|Indiana||Yes||No||Day after Thanksgiving||December 24||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Lincoln's Birthday||Washington's Birthday||No||No|
|Maryland||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Native American Heritage Day||No||No||No|
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
|No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||Last Monday in April||Last Monday in May (with Memorial Day)||No||No||No||No||No||No|
(with Lincoln's Birthday)
|New Mexico||Yes||No||No||Day after Thanksgiving||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||Washington's Birthday[a]||No||No||No|
|South Carolina||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||May 10||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|South Dakota||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes Native American Day||No||No||No||No||No|
|Texas||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Optional holiday||Yes||No||No||Confederate Heroes Day on January 19 (partial staffing holiday)||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
(with Lincoln's Birthday)
|West Virginia||Yes||No||No||Yes||On even-numbered Election Day||No||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||One half day||No||One half day|
^ a. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is known officially as Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day in Arizona, and New Hampshire, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee's Birthdays in Arkansas, Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Florida, and Maryland, Martin Luther King Jr. / Idaho Human Rights Day in Idaho, and Martin Luther King's and Robert E. Lee's Birthdays in Mississippi.
^ b. Washington's Birthday is known officially as President's Day in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming, Washington Day in California (Sec 6700 defers to federal code, but in Education Codes 37220 and 79020 it is called Washington Day), Washington - Lincoln Day in Colorado (CRS 24-11-101), Lincoln/Washington/Presidents' Day in Arizona, George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day in Arkansas, Presidents' Day in Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Vermont, Washington's Birthday/President's Day in Maine, Presidents Day in Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, and Oregon, Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday in Montana, Recognition of the birthday of George Washington in North Dakota, Washington and Lincoln Day in Utah, and George Washington Day in Virginia.
^ e. President's Day, Good Friday (11am-3pm), Juneteenth Day (June 19), Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Partisan Primary Election Day, and General Election Day are listed as a state holiday in Wisconsin although state offices remain open.
Legal holidays observed nationwide
- January 1 – New Year's Day
- Last Monday in May – Memorial Day
- July 4 – Independence Day
- First Monday in September – Labor Day
- November 11 – Veterans Day
- Known officially as Armistice Day in Mississippi.
- Fourth Thursday in November – Thanksgiving
- December 25 – Christmas
Other holidays locally observed
- Bunker Hill Day (Suffolk County, Massachusetts), June 17
- Brooklyn-Queens Day (New York City), first Thursday in June
- Casimir Pulaski Day (Illinois), first Monday in March
- Celebrate Freedom Week (Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas), various weeks depending on state.
- Day of the Dead, November 2, sometimes celebrated in areas with large Mexican-American populations; see Dia de los Muertos
- DC Emancipation Day (Washington, D.C.), April 16. Legal public holiday. If during the weekend, observed on the nearest weekday. If April 16 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, it will nationally extend the federal income tax filing deadline.
- Devil's Night (primarily Michigan), October 30
- Dyngus Day (New York, Indiana, Michigan and North Dakota), day after Easter, Polish-origin holiday
- Evacuation Day (Suffolk County and Cambridge, Massachusetts), * March 17 (same date as St. Patrick's Day)
- Father Damien Day (Hawaii), April 15
- Helen Keller Day, (Pennsylvania), June 27
- Indigenous Peoples Day (Berkeley, California), celebrated in lieu of Columbus Day
- International Women's Day (Berkeley, California), March 8
- Loyalty Day (domestic counterweight to May Day)
- Malcolm X Day (Berkeley, California), May 19
- Mardi Gras, held the day before Ash Wednesday.
- Meck-Dec Day (Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina), May 20. Celebrates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.
- Midsummer (celebrated in Minnesota and other Scandinavian-American areas)
- Nevada Day (Nevada), last Friday in October
- Patriots' Day (Massachusetts and Maine), third Monday in April. Commemorates the Revolutionary War and is the day of the Boston Marathon. Different than Patriot Day (September 11).
- Pioneer Day (Utah), July 24. Commemorates the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers to the Great Salt Lake Valley.
- Return Day (Sussex County, Delaware), November 4 after noon. Population meets to hear election returns, celebrate.
- Rosa Parks Day (Ohio), February 4
- Susan B. Anthony Day (California, Florida, Wisconsin, and West Virginia), February 15
- Sweetest Day (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), third Saturday in October. Involves giving small presents to family, friends and lovers
- Texas Independence Day (Texas)
- Truman Day (Missouri)
- Von Steuben Day, (mid-September, celebrated primarily by German Americans)
Non-holiday notable days
- Super Bowl Sunday (the day of the National Football League's championship, festivities generally including in-home parties and watching the game on television with beverages and snacks)
- Super Tuesday (political event, variable)
- Tax Freedom Day (day in which an average citizen is said to have worked enough to pay his or her taxes for the year)
- Opening Day (The beginning of the Major League Baseball season and an unofficial indication that summer is approaching)
- Tax Day (federal and state tax deadline, (April 15) or if on weekend or holiday, next closest Monday or business day)
- Go Skateboarding Day (June 21).
- Oktoberfest (celebrated most often in areas with contemporary or historic populations of German heritage)
- Black Friday (Busy shopping day where stores lower prices the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season)
- Small Business Saturday (The day after Black Friday; encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local)
- Cyber Monday (The equivalent of Black Friday, except online, the Monday after Black Friday)
- Festivus (December 23): made famous on the television show Seinfeld.
- Spring Break (one week in late winter or spring that schools are off)
- Summer Vacation (summer months in which schools are off)
- United States federal observances
- Holidays in Puerto Rico
- Mexican fiestas in the United States
- Easter/Good Friday controversy
- Christmas controversy
- Hallmark holiday
- Tax holiday
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- The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) ISBN 0-19-861263-X - p.540 "Diwali /dɪwɑːli/ (also Divali) noun a Hindu festival with lights...".
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- Diwali - Celebrating the triumph of goodness Hinduism Today (2012)
- Vera, Zak (February 2010). Invisible River: Sir Richard's Last Mission. ISBN 978-1-4389-0020-9. Retrieved 26 October 2011. "First Diwali day called Dhanteras or wealth worship. We perform Laskshmi-Puja in evening when clay diyas lighted to drive away shadows of evil spirits."
- "Major Islamic Holidays".
- "Eid al-Fitr".
- "Eid al-Adha".
- "New York Schools Could Get Muslim Holidays".
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- "Muslims worldwide start to observe Ramadan". The Global Times Online. 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
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- Diversity Calendar: Eid al-Adha, University of Kansas Medical Center
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- Children's Day
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- "2012 State Holiday Calendar" (PDF). State of Alaska. Alaska Department of Administration Division of Finance. September 30, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Service Holiday". State of Arizona. Arizona Department of Administration Human Resources Division. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holiday Calendar". State of Arkansas. Arkansas Secretary of State. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Title 1 Div 7 Chpt 7 Sec 6700". State of California. State of California. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- "Colorado Revised Statute 24-11-101 Legal holidays - effect". via LexisNexis. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
- "2012 State Holidays and Check Dates" (PDF). State of Connecticut. Connecticut Department of Administrative Services. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "2012 Holidays". State of Delaware. Delaware Office of Management and Budget Human Resource Management. July 5, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "2012 Calendar Year Holidays". District of Columbia. District of Columbia Department of Human Resources. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "2011 and 2012 State Holidays". State of Florida. Florida Department of Management Services. Retrieved January 31, 2012.
- "State Holidays". State of Georgia. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Holidays to be Observed by the Hawaii State Government" (PDF). State of Hawai'i. Hawaii Department of Human Resources Development. January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holiday". State of Idaho. Idaho Secretary of State. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holidays". State of Illinois. Illinois Department of Central Management Services. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holidays". State of Indiana. Indiana State Personnel Department. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holidays". State of Iowa. Iowa Department of Administrative Services. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
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- "State Holidays". Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. January 10, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "2012 State Holiday Calendar". State of Louisiana. Louisiana Division of Administration Office of State Purchasing and Travel. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "2012 Holiday Schedule". State of Maine. Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services Bureau of Human Resources. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holidays for the Year 2012". State of Maryland. Maryland Department of Budget and Management. June 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Calendar Year 2012 Legal Holidays and Dates of Observance". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Department of the State Treasurer Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Official Holidays". State of Michigan. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Court Holidays". Minnesota Judicial Branch. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holidays in Mississippi". Mississippi Secretary of State. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
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- "Holidays Observed 2012" (PDF). State of Montana. Montana State Human Resources Division. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Holiday Schedule". State of Nebraska. Nebraska Department of Administrative Services Personnel Division. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Holidays". State of Nevada. Nevada Department of Personnel. February 19, 2008. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Holidays for Calendar Year 2012" (PDF). State of New Hampshire. New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services Division of Personnel. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
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- "State Holiday Schedule". State of South Carolina. South Carolina Budget and Control Board Human Resources Division. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Schedule of Office Closures for State-recognized holidays". State of South Dakota. South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Official State Holidays". State of Tennessee. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
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- "Legal holidays – Personal preference day – Governor authorized to declare additional days.". State of Utah. Utah State Legislature. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State Holiday Schedule". State of Vermont. Vermont Agency of Administration Department of Human Resources. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "Pay and Holiday Calendar". Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Department of Human Resource Management. 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- "State holiday schedule". State of Washington. Washington State Department of Revenue, however contrary to this reference, Washington law RCW 1.16.050 establishes usage as Presidents' Day. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
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- "Official State Holidays". State of Wyoming. Wyoming Secretary of State. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
- Section 1-3-8
- U.S. Department of Commerce Federal Holiday Calendar
- Text of Federal Holiday Legislation
- Bizarre American Holidays – a comprehensive compilation of special recognition given both to months and individual days. Unfortunately, the origins of the commemorations aren't provided.
- Infoplease: State Holidays
- Federal Holidays: Evolution and Application, CRS Report for Congress, 98-301 GOV, updated February 8, 1999, by Stephen W. Stathis