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American festivals and holidays

american festivals and holidays

Día de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is a lively Mexican holiday that draws festivals and lively celebrations, a typically Latin American custom that. Here's the complete list of Chinese holiday guides at Chinese American Family. Most people associate Chinese holidays with traditional festivals like. This U.S. holiday, which is celebrated near to King's birthday (Jan. The festival season varies from country to country and local.

American festivals and holidays -

Public holidays in the United States

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This article is about all types of holidays observed in the United States. For other uses, see Public holidays in the United States (disambiguation).

The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who provide 62% of the total U.S. population with paid time off.[citation needed]

Public holidays with paid time off is generally defined to occur on a day that is within the employee's work week. When a holiday occurs on Saturday or Sunday, that holiday is shifted to either Friday or Monday for work purposes. Most employers follow a holiday schedule similar to the federal holidays of the United States, with exceptions or additions. The federal holiday schedule mainly benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses; however, this sector only comprises 15% of the working population.

At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as New Year's Eve, Christmas Eve and the Day after Thanksgiving are common additions to the list of paid holidays while Columbus Day and Veterans Day are common omissions. Besides paid holidays, there are festival and food holidays that also have wide acceptance based on sales of goods and services that are typically associated with that holiday. Halloween and Valentine's Day are examples of widely celebrated uncompensated holidays.


Public holidays had their origins from established federal holidays that were enacted by Congress. They were typically observed on days that have significance for various sectors of American society and are observed at all levels of society, including government and the private sector. These holidays are typically derived from the history, religions, and cultures of the United States and have changed over time. Major holidays are most commonly observed with paid time off, however, many other holiday celebrations come without time off.

There are no national holidays on which the law requires all businesses to close. Federal holidays are only established for certain federally chartered and regulated businesses, government contractors, and the city of Washington, DC. All other public holidays are created by the States; most states also allow local jurisdictions (cities, villages, etc.) to establish their own local holidays. As a result, holidays have not historically been governed at the federal level and federal law does not govern business openings.

Some states, however, do restrict certain business activities on some holidays.[1] Business closures are mandated on a few holidays in some states for certain kinds of businesses by blue laws. For example, businesses that operate on more than 5,000 square feet (460 m2) cannot open on Thanksgiving in some New England states. The most notable businesses to close on such occasions are car dealerships and liquor stores. Some holidays are observed with community service, depending on the meaning of the holiday. Service is, however, not mandated by any government agencies, whether they be federal, state, or local.


As of June 2021[update], there are eleven annual federal holidays in the United States, and one additional quadrennial holiday (Inauguration Day).[2] Pursuant to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 (effective 1971), official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year's Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.[3]

While all current federal holidays have also been made public holidays in all 50 states, each state is not bound to observe the holidays on the same dates as the federal holidays. Many states also have additional holidays that are not observed by the federal government.[4] Many businesses likewise observe certain holidays as well, which are also not mandated by any government agency.

Saint Patrick's Day parade in Atlanta, 2012

Since 2000, some city and state-level celebrations of Malcolm X Day and Rosa Parks Day have been created, in addition to the federal Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to embrace the African American community in the form of festivals and parades. Illinois and Berkeley, California are two places where Malcolm X is honored by a legal holiday with offices closed, whereas Missouri honors Rosa Parks on her birthday.[5][6] Today, the United States is the 85th most ethnically diverse country in the world. Many workplaces celebrate religious observance as well as ethnic holidays, such as Saint Patrick's Day, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Mardi Gras, and Cinco de Mayo, as a matter of best practice.[7]

While the popularity of each public holiday cannot easily be measured, the holiday with the highest greeting card sales is Christmas.[8] Major retail establishments, such as shopping malls and centers, close only on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but remain open on all other holidays (with early closings on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and sometimes on other major holidays). In the face of a rapidly tightening retail market in the 2010s, retailers have increasingly been opening on Thanksgiving evening and night to extend Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.[9] Virtually all large companies observe and close on the major holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Some non-retail businesses close on the day after Thanksgiving, while others (such as federal banks and post offices) are not allowed to close that day. Some smaller businesses normally open on Sundays will close on Easter Sunday if they expect to have very few customers that day.[10]

Holidays most commonly celebrated[edit]

This is a list of the most commonly celebrated holidays in the United States, not a list of federal holidays.

RankDateHoliday% of Americans celebratingUSD sales (in billions)[11]Main SymbolsDescription
1December 25 (Fixed)Christmas92–96%
$630.5Many Christmas carols and popular songs, Christmas trees, gift-giving, decorations, Santa Claus, Christmas dinner, shopping, church servicesChristmas is the celebration of Jesus' birth. Celebrations are marked by decorations and exchanging of gifts between family members and friends. Most popular holiday based on greeting card sales. Also known for having the second highest church attendance (behind Easter). Widely celebrated as a secular holiday.
2November 22–28 (Floating Thursday)Thanksgiving87–90%
(part of Christmas sales)Giving thanks, prayer, feasting, spending time with family, football games, parades, turkey, travelingThanksgiving is a celebration of thanks for the previous year, with families and friends gathering for a large meal or dinner. Consequently, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year.[18] One-sixth of the turkeys consumed annually in the U.S. are eaten around Thanksgiving.[19][20]
3May 8–14 (Floating Sunday)Mother's Day84%
$19.9Breakfasts in bed, family meals, gift-giving, flowers Mother's Day recognizes mothers, motherhood, and maternal bonds in general, as well as the positive contributions that they make to society. Known for having the highest restaurant sales, even compared with Valentine's Day, as well as the highest church attendance after Easter and Christmas.[23][24]
4March 22 – April 25 (Floating Sunday)Easter80–81%
$16.4Church services, family meals, Easter egg decorating, egg hunts, the Easter Bunny, Easter parades, Easter baskets, chocolates Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The highest church attendance happens on Easter.[24] Like Christmas, it has become a widely celebrated secular holiday, and customs observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades.
5July 4 (Fixed)Independence Day (Fourth of July)78–79%
(Part of Back to School sales)
Fireworks, family reunions, concerts, barbecues, picnics, parades, baseball games, carnivals and fairsIndependence Day, also commonly known as the Fourth of July, marks the date that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. The holiday is best known for fireworks and barbecues. 45% of American celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, accounting for about $675 million in fireworks sales.[28]
6October 31 (Fixed)Halloween76% ±4.1
$6.9Trick-or-treating, costume parties, carving jack-o-lanterns, lighting bonfires, visiting haunted attractions, horror moviesHalloween celebrations are marked by costumed children knocking door to door asking for treats, and costumed adults attending parties. The most popular holiday for candy sales, amounting to $3 billion in 2021, and $10.14 billion in total on Halloween related items including candy, decorations, costumes, and greeting cards.[30]
7June 15–21 (Floating Sunday)Father's Day75%
$12.7Family meals, gift-giving Father's Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. It accounts for the highest sales of ties and neckwear annually, around $12.7 billion.[32]
8February 14 (Fixed)Valentine's Day55%
$18.9Sending greeting cards, gift-giving, dating and romantic dinners, church services, candy, flowers Valentine's Day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love. It accounts for 224 million roses grown annually. 24% of American adults purchased flowers for Valentine's Day in 2015.[34] The holiday comes in second in terms of annual restaurant sales, behind Mother's Day.[23]
9March 17 (Fixed)Saint Patrick's Day51%
$4.4Parades, parties, shamrocks, leprechauns, display of the color green, Irish beer and Irish whiskey, corned beef, copious consumption of alcohol Saint Patrick's Day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, parties, the wearing of green attire or shamrocks, and alcohol consumption.
10January 1 (Fixed)New Year's Day (New Year's Eve)37–45%
(Part of Christmas sales)Making New Year's resolutions, church services, parades, football and hockey games, fireworks Observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar. Known for being the holiday with the highest alcohol consumption, evidenced by the spike in sales around between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.[38][39]

Holidays observed with paid time off[edit]

Main article: Holidays with paid time off in the United States

The 1979 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The labor force in the United States comprises about 62% (as of 2014) of the general population.[40] In the United States, 97% of the private sector businesses determine what days this sector of the population gets paid time off, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management. The following holidays are observed by the majority of U.S. businesses with paid time off:

Holidays with religious significance[edit]

Main articles: Religion in the United States and Separation of church and state in the United States

Box of Valentine chocolates, typically sold around Valentine's Day

Religious and cultural holidays in the United States are 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." 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.[42]

The majority of Americans (73–80%) identify themselves as Christians and about 15–20% have no religious affiliation.[43] 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.[44] The same survey says that other religions (including, for example, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, 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.[45]

Christian holidays[edit]

Main article: Liturgical year

With 65% of adults in the U.S. identifying as Christian, many holidays from the liturgical calendar are observed by this segment of the population.[46] Many businesses, as well as federal, state, and local governments, are closed on Christmas, arguably the most significant holiday of the Christian religion.[47] A reference in A Christmas Story shows a Chinese restaurant being the only establishment open on Christmas.

Some private businesses and certain other institutions are closed on Good Friday.[48] The financial market and stock market is closed on Good Friday.[49] 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.[2]

Many companies, including banks, malls, shopping centers, and most private retail stores that normally open on Sundays are closed on Easter.[10]

January 6EpiphanyEpiphany (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 7Orthodox ChristmasJanuary 7th is the Gregorian Calendar equivalent of December 25 on the Julian Calendar still observed by the Russian and other Eastern Orthodox Churches.
February 3 – March 9 (floating Tuesday using Computus)Mardi Gras and Ash WednesdayA 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. Legal holiday in Louisiana and Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama.
February 14Valentine's DaySt. 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.
March 15 – April 18 (floating Sunday using Computus) Palm SundayCelebration to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
March 17St. Patrick's DayA holiday honoring Saint Patrick that celebrates Irish culture. The 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 dyeing the Chicago River green.
March 20 – April 23 (floating Friday using Computus)Good FridayFriday 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,[50]Delaware,[51]Florida,[52]Hawaii,[53]Indiana,[54]Kentucky,[55]Louisiana,[56]New Jersey,[57]North Carolina,[58]North Dakota,[59]Tennessee[60] and Texas.[61] 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 Guam,[62]U.S. Virgin Islands[63] and Puerto Rico.[64] 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.
March 22 – April 25 (floating Sunday using Computus)EasterCelebration 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.[65] 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 31HalloweenOriginally 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. It is not generally observed by businesses and is one of the most popular holidays in the US.
December 8Immaculate Conception of the Virgin MaryImmaculate 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 24Christmas EveDay before Christmas. Virtually every business closes early, though some remain open.
December 25ChristmasIs a federal holiday.

Hindu holidays[edit]

Main article: List of Hindu festivals

Rangoli decorations, made using colored powder, are popular during Diwali.

The Hindu holidays of Diwali and Holi are celebrated in some parts of the United States, mostly by Indian Americans or peoples of Indian descent. [66][67] Holi, the "festival of colors" has inspired a Broadway musical based on this festival.[68] New York City Council has voted on a resolution that may make Diwali and Holi a legal holiday in Resolution 1863–2013.[69] As of August 2013, the resolution has passed and the holidays are now officially legal holidays in New York City.[70] CNN reported that the Diwali holiday is shown in American pop culture through an episode of The Office.[71][72]

February or March (depends on Hindu calendar)HoliHoli () (Sanskrit: होली) is a spring festival also known as Festival of Colors, and sometimes Festival of Love.[73][74] 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.[75]
October or November (depends on Hindu calendar)DiwaliDiwali ( or ) also called the Festival of lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year.[76][77] The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.[61][78][79] 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.

Jewish holidays[edit]

Main article: Hebrew calendar

The three most commonly celebrated Jewish holidays are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah.[80]Passover and Yom Kippur in addition to Rosh Hashannah and Hanukkah are recognized as an optional state level holiday in Texas[81][82] All Jewish holidays start the night before, as that is when the Jewish day begins.

March 21 – April 24 (floating date)Passover פסחA seven- or eight-day festival in Judaism (seven days in Israel, eight outside of Israel), 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.
May 9 – June 12 (floating date)Shavuot שבועותA two-day (one in Israel) festival celebrating the receiving of the Torah at Sinai and the harvest season of the Land of Israel. Many people have the custom to eat dairy foods, specifically cheesecake.
September 5 – October 5 (floating date)Rosh Hashanah ראש השנהObserved 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. It is a widely accepted custom to dip an apple in honey on the first night. Unlike other holidays where the Diaspora (outside of Israel) celebrate extra days, this holiday is observed for two days everywhere.
September 14 – October 14 (floating date)Yom Kippur יום כיפורObserved 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. Orthodox and many Conservative Jews fast on Yom Kippur. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close on Yom Kippur.

September 19 – October 19 (floating date)Sukkot סוכותA nine-day (eight in Israel) holiday celebrating the huts Jews lived in for forty years after the Exodus before getting to Israel. It also celebrates the cloud of glory that protected the Jews in the desert during the same period. Jews eat, and some sleep, in a special hut called a sukkah outside their home for the first seven days. Also, the 'four species' or 'Arba Minim', ארבע מינים, the Lulav לולב (palm frond), the Etrog אתרוג (citron), the Aravot ערבות (willow branches), and the Hadasim הדסים (myrtle branches), are shaken in the sukkah in the morning, as well as during prayers. The Seventh Day, known as Hoshanah Rabbah הושנה רבה is the last day of the season of repentance started on Rosh Hashanah and has extra prayers in addition to the extra holiday prayers. The Eighth day is known as Shemini Atzeret שמיני עצרת and is to some degree considered a different holiday. The ninth day (or part of the eighth in Israel) is known as Simchat Torah שמחת תורה and celebrates he finishing of one cycle of reading the Torah or bible, and includes much joyous singing and dancing with the Torah scrolls during prayers.
November 28 – December 27 (floating date)Hanukkah חנוכהAn 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. Candelabras are lit, one candle on the first night and adding one candle per night. It is also a widely accepted custom to spin a top-like toy called a dreidel, and to give coins to the children.
February 23 – March 26 (floating date)Purim פוריםA one-day holiday, celebrated the Jews being saved from a plot by Haman, the second-in-command to the Persian king, Achasverosh, or Xerxes, to exterminate every single Jew. It is generally celebrated by reading the Book of Esther in Synagogue the preceding night (which, like all Jewish holidays, is actually part of the holiday) and in the morning, giving charity, giving presents of food baskets to at least two friends, and having a celebratory feast. Unlike most other Jewish holidays (other than Hanukkah), work is allowed including using electricity, and other prohibited actions on Sabbath, and other holidays. The day before (or the Thursday before, if Purim is on a Sunday) is a fast day commemorating the fast of Esther before she met with King Achashverosh. In Jerusalem, Purim is celebrated the day after the rest of the world.

Islamic holidays[edit]

Main article: Islamic holidays

Mehndiis the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration, commonly applied during Eid al-Fitr in Indian subcontinentculture.

The major Islamic 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.[83][84][85] According to Al-Jazeera, schools in New York and Michigan (mainly Dearborn) may begin to close in observance of all Muslim holidays.[86]

depends on Islamic calendarRamadanRamadan (Arabic: رمضان‎ Ramaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[variations]Persian: رَمَضان‎ Ramazān; Urdu / Punjabi رَمْضان Ramzān; Turkish: Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar;[87]Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting.[88] This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[89] The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.[90][91] The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness.[92] Fasting is fard ("obligatory") for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.[93] 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.
depends on Islamic calendarEid al-FitrEid 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[94] 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(lunar calendar).
depends on Islamic calendarEid al-AdhaEid 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,[95] 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.[96] In the lunar-based Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days.[97] In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

Holidays with other cultural or historical significance[edit]

Confederate States of America[edit]

The following holidays memorialize the historic Confederate States of America from the American Civil War:

  • Confederate Memorial Day is a public holiday observed by Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana[citation needed] and Texas and an unofficially observed holiday in some other states. It is often in late April to align with the final surrender of the last Confederate Army. Texas observes Confederate Heroes Day.
  • Confederate History Month has been declared at least once in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia as well as by various cities, usually in April to augment Confederate Memorial Day.
  • Robert E. Lee Day (on or around Lee's Jan 19 birthday) is still observed in Alabama and Mississippi combined with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the only remaining states to do so.[98] It is officially recognised in Florida, but is not widely observed there.[99]
  • Arkansas combined the observance of Robert E. Lee Day with Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1985.[100] In 2017, it passed a law removing Lee's name from the January holiday and instead establishing a state memorial day on the second Saturday of October in honor of Lee.[101]

Drinking holidays[edit]

See also: Drinking culture

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 86% of the population over 18 drinks alcohol recreationally or socially.[102] In the United States, the holidays that are considered the most "festive" are generally regarded as some of the "most drunken holidays." Celebrations usually revolve around barbecues and beer. Although many of these holidays lack any official status, they are generally observed by the drinking culture for the fact that these holidays revolve around drinking. One measurement of the popularity of these holidays is the amount of alcohol purchased for the occasion. One survey names New Year's Eve as the holiday on which the most alcohol is consumed based on sales.[103] While many holidays are listed, some are generally notable for their drinking requirement while others are known for abstinence.[104]

African American holidays[edit]

Main article: African-American culture

African Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population. While some customs have come from abroad, many of the customs were developed inside the United States. Kwanzaa, for example, is a custom that has greatly influenced American culture originating from the turbulent 1960s. [105] Most of the newer holidays revolve around a particular civil rights activist and have recently gained attention from city and state-level governments. At the federal level, there are only three national holidays named for a person, and one of those honors 20th century African American Martin Luther King Jr.; the other two are Washington's Birthday (for George Washington, one of the original American citizens of 1776) and Columbus Day (for Italian Christopher Columbus's European discovery of the Americas in 1492).

December 26 – January 1KwanzaaKwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the Western African diaspora in the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.[107] Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966–67.
January 15–21 (floating Monday)Martin Luther King Jr. DayMartin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday marking the birthday of an African American. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15.
February 1–29Black History MonthAlso known as the "African American History Month" which was set aside as an observance of important leaders of the African diaspora.
February 4 or December 1Rosa Parks DayCurrently observed in the states of California, Missouri, and Ohio to honor the late civil rights leader Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks Day was created by the California State Legislature and first celebrated February 4, 2000.[108] The holiday was first designated in Ohio championed by Joyce Beatty, advocate who helped Ohio's legislation pass to honor the late leader.[109] In 2015, Missouri has declared Rosa Parks Day a legal holiday.
March 10Harriet Tubman DayCommemorates anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman for her accomplishments. Occurs two days after International Women's Day.
April 16 (DC)Emancipation DayCurrently observed in Washington, DC, Mississippi, Texas (as Juneteenth), Kentucky, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in observance of the emancipation of slaves of African descent. It is also observed in other areas in regard to the abolition of serfdom or other forms of servitude.
May 19Malcolm X DayCurrently observed in Berkeley, California, and Illinois, this holiday honors Malcolm X as a civil rights leader as a legal holiday with offices closed. Various municipalities such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC have festivals commemorating the civil rights leader.
June 19JuneteenthJuneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate South. Celebrated on June 19, the term is a portmanteau of June and nineteenth[110][111] and is a federal holiday.

Other traditional and informal holidays[edit]

In addition to the federal/national holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by businesses as holidays (Except for Easter and most often also on Good Friday);[10] 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 Hallmarkgreeting card company.

February 2Groundhog DayThe day on which folklore states that whether or not a local groundhog casts a shadow determines if the spring season will arrive early or on time.
April 1April Fools' DayA 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 DayA celebration of environmentalism.
April 24–30 (floating Friday)Arbor DayA day for planting trees.
May 1May DayIn most other countries, May 1 is International Workers' Day, the equivalent of Labor Day, which commemorates the labor movement and the ultimate triumph of socialism over capitalism. This theme borrows from the pagan origins of May Day which emphasized the change in season and the triumph of the warm sun over the cold winter. The holiday is often celebrated with parades and protests for workers' rights and other broad social issues.
May 5Cinco de MayoPrimarily 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 United States 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.
May 8–14 (floating Sunday)Mother's DayHonors mothers and motherhood (made a federal holiday by Presidential order, although most federal agencies are already closed on Sundays)
June 14Flag DayCommemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, in 1777.
June 27Helen Keller DayCommemorates the achievements of Helen Keller and the blind.
June 15–21 (floating Sunday)Father's DayHonors fathers and fatherhood.
July 24Pioneer DayObserved in Utah and some other areas to commemorate the arrival of pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
August 26Women's Equality DayCelebrates 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 nationwide demonstration for equal rights, the Women's Strike for Equality, in 1970.
September 11Patriot DayCommemorates the response to the attacks on the World Trade Center (New York City), The Pentagon (Washington, DC), and United Airlines Flight 93 in 2001.
September 17Constitution/Citizenship DayCommemorates the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.
OctoberOktoberfest16-day folk festival drinking beer. Modeled after the original Oktoberfest from Munich, Germany. Celebrated most often in areas with contemporary or historic populations of German heritage.
November 2–8 (floating Tuesday)Election Day or Democracy DayObserved by the federal and state governments in applicable years; a legal holiday in some states.
November 23–29 (floating Friday)Black FridayTraditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States, where stores lower prices. "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).
November 26 – December 1 (floating Monday)Cyber MondayThe online shopping equivalent of Black Friday, held the Monday after Black Friday.
December 7Pearl Harbor Remembrance DayDay to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
December 31New Year's EveFinal 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.

Other notable holidays[edit]

See also[edit]


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  30. ^"Halloween Spending Soars as Celebrations Near Pre-Pandemic Levels". National Retail Federation. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
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  35. ^Kiernan, John S. (2016). "St. Patrick's Day 2016 by the Numbers". WalletHub. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  36. ^Rapoza, Kenneth (2012). "In Survey, Most Americans Not Celebrating New Year's Eve". Forbes. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
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  46. ^"In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace". Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
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  87. ^
Thanksgiving 2021: Ideas to deck up your home

Additionally, the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in New York City with other celebrations. It is the world's largest Thanksgiving parade which consists of giant cartoon balloons that float above the sky accompanied by dancers and marching bands.

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Día de los Muertos

  • Día de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Latin America, including South America (Brazilians call the festival Finados) and the Caribbean. In the United States and Canada, the tradition exists only in areas with a large Latin American population, such as Los Angeles, California, or Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Día de los Muertos predates the independence of Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. Why do you think this is not a widely celebrated American or Canadian holiday?

    Answers will vary! Consider the region's history:
    •    Día de los Muertos has its origins in Aztec traditions honoring the dead. The Aztec Empire's influence extended throughout present-day Mexico and Central America, while few Native Americans of the present-day U.S. shared Aztec traditions. They would be unlikely to adopt Dia de los Muertos rituals.
    •    Latin America was largely colonized by Catholics, while northern North America was largely colonized by Protestants. Though both Christian, these traditions have different religious calendars, and honor saints and holy days in different ways. All Saints Day and All Souls Day are more important in the Catholic calendar than the Protestant calendar.
    •    Latin America was largely colonized by Spain and Portugal, while the U.S. and Canada were colonized mostly by the British and French. National traditions influence religious celebrations. Even though both Spain and France were Catholic nations, for instance, Spanish citizens celebrated All Saints Day with family reunions, feasts, and festivals. Few French citizens marked the day at all.
    •    Protestant British and Catholic Spanish explorers had wildly different approaches to the native populations they colonized. Catholic missionaries often incorporated native influences into their religious teachings. They adapted Aztec traditions with All Saints Day to create Día de los Muertos, where elements of both celebrations are retained. Spanish explorers were also more likely to marry indigenous people, creating a hybrid (mestizo) culture where such cultural adaptation is a way of life.

  • In some of these photos, masks and other decorations are only half-decorated with calacas and calaveras. Why?

    Answers will vary! Consider the philosophy of the festival:
    •    Día de los Muertos celebrates death as a part of the human experience: Every living thing will eventually die. Every human being, no matter how beautiful or well-dressed, will eventually be exposed as nothing more than a skeleton and skull. The half-decorated calacas and calaveras recognize this duality.
    •    The dead are a part of the community, participating in the same way they did in life. Although their flesh may have disappeared, their cultural associations have not. Skeletons representing firefighters may still ride in a fire truck, for instance,  or a calaca of a vaquero (cowboy) may still ride a horse.

  • In many parts of Mexico, participants in Día de los Muertos festivities wear shells or other noisemakers on their clothing and jewelry. Why?

    Answers will vary! Consider the culture of the festival:
    •    The dead are a part of the community, but invisible to the living. Shells and noisemakers will wake the dead from their sleep, and keep them close during the festivities.
    •    Many of the dead were musicians or enjoyed music and dancing.
    •    Día de los Muertos is a celebration, and music is an important part of the joyous atmosphere.

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    US federal holidays 2021: Full list from Thanksgiving to Christmas

    From Independence Day to Thanksgiving, there is plenty to put in the calendars for 2021.

    First introduced by Congress in 1885 when it was decided that federal employees should have certain days off from work, the list of US federal holidays eventually grew to the 10 days of historical significance that Americans now recognise.

    And, to ensure that Americans get the chance to celebrate the holidays no matter what day they fall on, there are guidelines for celebrating.

    Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed by federal employees on the previous Friday, whereas holidays that fall on Sunday are observed the following Monday.

    On these days, non-essential federal government offices are closed and banks, post offices and schools may also be closed.

    For employees in the private sector, federal holidays may or may not mean a day off - as companies cannot legally be required to observe the holiday. Fortunately, most employers will still give employees the day off on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas - or pay extra to employees working on the day.

    These are the dates of the 2021 US federal holidays to mark on your calendar.

    2021 federal holidays

    New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1

    Martin Luther King Jr Day: Monday, January 18

    President’s Day: Monday, February 15

    Memorial Day: Monday, May 31

    Independence Day: Sunday, July 4

    Independence Day (Observed): Monday, July 5

    Labor Day: Monday, September 6

    Columbus Day: Monday, October 11

    Veterans' Day: Thursday, November 11

    Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 25

    Christmas Day (observed): Friday, December 24

    Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25

    Other important days to note:

    Valentine’s Day: Sunday, February 14

    St Patrick’s Day: Wednesday, March 17

    Good Friday: Friday, April 2

    Easter: Sunday, April 4

    Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 9

    Father’s Day: Sunday, June 20

    Halloween: Sunday, October 31

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    By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

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    Thanksgiving 2021: Date, history, significance, celebrations and all you need to know

    Thanksgiving 2021: Marked as a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It is believed that Thanksgiving is modelled on a harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people in 1621. This American holiday has many legends and rituals attached to its name. Additionally, a traditional Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. It is one of the busiest holidays as families get together and celebrate this day with a hearty meal. This year, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 25, 2021.

    Thanksgiving officially marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is also celebrated in Germany, Brazil, Canada, Japan and other countries. Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday of October in Canada.

    Thanksgiving History and Significance

    Thanksgiving is celebrated to say thanks and recognise the sacrifices and blessings of the past year. The annual celebrations honour the first Thanksgiving feast shared between the colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts, later known as the Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag Indians.

    On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

    Families and friends get together on Thanksgiving day to enjoy a hearty meal. (Pexels)


    : American festivals and holidays

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    American festivals and holidays
    american festivals and holidays

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    Top 10 Festival Vacations in Latin America

    Thanksgiving 2021: Date, history, significance, celebrations and all you need to know

    Thanksgiving 2021: Marked as a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It is believed that Thanksgiving is modelled on a harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people in 1621. This American holiday has many legends and rituals attached to its name. Additionally, a traditional Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. It is one of the busiest holidays as families get together and celebrate this day with a hearty meal. This year, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 25, 2021.

    Thanksgiving officially marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is also celebrated in Germany, Brazil, Canada, Japan and other countries. Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday of October in Canada.

    Thanksgiving History and Significance

    Thanksgiving is celebrated to say thanks and recognise the sacrifices and blessings of the past year. The annual celebrations honour the first Thanksgiving feast shared between the colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts, later known as the Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag Indians.

    On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

    Families and friends get together on Thanksgiving day to enjoy a hearty meal. (Pexels)

    ALSO READ Facebook Thanksgiving 2021: Ideas to deck up your home

    The holiday was annually proclaimed by every President thereafter. However, after a joint resolution of Congress in 1941, President Franklin D Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.

    Later, with more urbanisation, Thanksgiving became a day for people to get together with their friends and family to celebrate the day with a scrumptious feast. They also decorate their homes to get right into the festive spirit. The holiday moved away from its religious roots to allow immigrants of every background to participate in a common tradition.

    Thanksgiving Celebrations

    Turkey is central to the Thanksgiving festivities in America. The bird is included in the traditional feast. Moreover, every President of the United States of America follows a ritual every Thanksgiving. They pardon the Thanksgiving turkey on the morning of the celebration.

    Turkey is central to the Thanksgiving festivities in America.



    September 15 – October 15Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

    Sept 21: International Day of Peace. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.


    October is LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

    September 15 – October 15Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day,which is celebrated on September 16, and recognizes the revolution in 1810 that ended Spanish dictatorship.

    October 9National Indigenous People’s Day promotes recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

    October 11National Coming Out Day. For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

    Oct 11: World Mental Health Day.The overall objective is to  raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, eradicating stigma, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

    Oct 17: International Pronoun Day.Seeks to make asking, sharing, and respecting personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities.

    Oct 25: Intersex Awareness Day. To bring  to light the challenges that intersex individuals face, as well as the concept of visibility and representation. It also leads into the culmination of  the Intersex Day of Remembrance on the birthday of Herculine Barbin, also sometimes known as Intersex Solidarity Day on Nov 8th.


    November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

    The 2nd week of November is Trans Awareness Week.

    November 20Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

    November 22: The National Day of Mourning is an annual protest organized since 1970 by Native Americans of New England on the fourth Thursday of November, the same day Thanksgiving in the United States. It coincides with an unrelated similar protest, Unthanksgiving Day, held american festivals and holidays the West Coast.


    December 1World AIDS Day, which was created to commemorate those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    December 3International Day of Disabled Persons, which is designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

    December 10: International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    December 26 – January 1Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.


    January 21, 2019Martin Luther King Day commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for non-violent social change until his assassination in 1968.

    January 27: Holocaust Remembrance Day. A Day to remember all of the victims who were persecuted during World War II.


    February is Black History Month in the United States and Canada. Since 1976, the month has been designated to remember the contributions of people of the African Diaspora.

    February 1National Freedom Day. Celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865.

    February 6: International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.This is a movement for the rights of women and their bodies, as well as the protection of their physical health. It is a UN-sponsored annual awareness day that is part of american festivals and holidays effort to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) and violence against women and girls  in various countries. UNFPA, jointly with UNICEF, leads the largest global program to educated and accelerate the abandonment of FGM practices.

    February 20: World Day of Social Justice. Social Justice Day is meant to remind people that advocacy and activism is what love and justice looks like. It is to uphold the principles of social justice by  promoting gender equality, and the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants; it is meant to advance social justice by dismantling and removing barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

    February 21: International Mother Language Day.It is a worldwide annual observance to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages  disappear. “One language disappears on average every two weeks, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.” ~UNESCO Thus, this day is about preserving and celebrating one’s native tongue, and learned tongues.


    March is Women’s History Month. Started in 1987, Women’s History Month recognizes all women for their valuable contributions to history and society.

    March is also National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which was established to increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    March 1: Zero Discrimination Day.Zero Discrimination Day was first celebrated by UNAIDS, the United Nations' HIV/AIDS Program, in December of 2013. The following year, the UN and other global organizations officially celebrated the day on March 1st, 2014 in an effort to promote everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs.

    March 8International Women’s Day. First observed in 1911 in Germany, it has now become a major global celebration honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

    March 25: Remembrance Day of the Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history. Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system. The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

    March 31: International Day of Trans Visibility. A time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face.


    April is Celebrate Diversity Month, started in 2004 to recognize and honor the diversity surrounding us all. By celebrating differences and similarities during this month, organizers hope that people will get a deeper understanding of each other.

    April 2: World Autism Awareness Day. Encourages Member States of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people within the Autism Spectrum, and celebrate and recognize people living with Autism. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support.

    April 7: World Health Day.Part of the World Health Organization’s mission to advocate for “Health for All” - it is a wide-drive to support countries in moving towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

    April 22Earth Day promotes peace and sustainability of planet Earth, worldwide events are held to show support of environmental protection of the earth.

    April 27the Day of Silence on which students take a daylong vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment.


    May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks on the project were Chinese immigrants.

    May 3: World Press Freedom Day.Celebrates the fundamental principles of freedom of the press, to evaluate press freedom (and lack thereof) from around citibank best buy visa card world, and to defend the media from attacks on their independence to report and speak about their nation’s policies, government, and actions. It also is meant to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

    May 15: International Day of Families. Although families all over the world have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure, the United Nations still recognizes the family as the basic unit of society. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them. It has inspired a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days. In many countries, this day is an opportunity to highlight different areas of interest and importance to families, their beliefs, and their culture. So how does your family celebrate itself?

    May 17: International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB). Created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTQIA+ people internationally. It calls for LGBTQIA+ communities and allies to mobilize on a worldwide scale.


    June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on the world. LGBT groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and other group gatherings. The last Sunday in June is Gay Pride Day.

    Jun 5: World Environment Day. United Nation's principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

    Jun 12: Pulse Night of Remembrance. Annual day of US remembrance for the loss of 49 people, majority who identified as LGBTQIA+, in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida on 12 June 2016.

    June 19Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. It is observed as a public holiday in 14 U.S. states. This celebration honors the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas and Louisiana finally heard they were free, two months after the end of the Civil War. June 19, therefore, became the day of emancipation for thousands of Blacks.

    June 28: Stonewall Riots Anniversary.To remember the Stonewall Riots that are described as the start of the LGBTQIA+ Liberation Movement in the United States. It's a day for people to remember the biracial lesbian and drag king Stormé DeLarverie whose scuffle with the police started the rebellion, and the trans woman of color Marsha P. Johnson who threw the first brick.


    July 14: International Non-Binary Day.Annual day celebrating the contributions of non-binary people and focusing on the issues affecting them, as well as raising awareness on what non-binary is and means.

    July 18Nelson Mandela International Day, launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on July 18, 2009 via unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly. It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said “It is in your hands now”. It is more than a celebration of “Madiba’s” life and legacy. It is a global movement to honor his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

    July 26Disability Independence Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


    Aug 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Promotes and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and american festivals and holidays that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. “On this annual observance, let us commit to fully realizing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the rights to self-determination and to traditional lands, territories and resources.” ~UN Secretary-General António Guterres

    Aug 19:  World Humanitarian Day. World Humanitarian Day is a day dedicated to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.

    August 23International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and the anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in that nation.

    August 26Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that gave women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bella Abzug first introduced a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day in 1971. Since that time, every president has published a proclamation recognizing August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.


    Top Things to Do in the US in September

    01of 11

    Visit Bicoastal Labor Day Fairs and Festivals

    These events have been canceled for 2020. Labor Day is the first Monday in September. Many Americans take their last vacations of the summer over the three-day weekend, so expect hotels and inns near beaches to book up quickly. The holiday is akin to "May Day," celebrated by many around the world as a salute to workers.

    This weekend is a popular time for music festivals, block parties, and carnivals in all major cities throughout the U.S. including New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

    • Electric Zoo: One of New York City's biggest music festivals, this electronic event is held in late August and early September.
    • Labor Day Concert: See the National Symphony Orchestra perform for free on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., on Labor Day.
    • LA County Fair: The LA County Fair kicks off on Friday night and features live music, rides, livestock shows, gardening demonstrations, and hundreds of gadgets to discover.

    02of 11

    Attend Bourbon Festivals in Kentucky

    These in-person events have been canceled in 2020. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival comes to Bardstown—the bourbon capital of the world—each year in mid-September. Check out more than 30 bourbon-related happenings, including the chance to sample the many different flavors of bourbon and whiskey, each of which may give you a nice kick in the gut. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be held virtually from October 15-18, 2020.

    Around the same time of the month, you can go 40 miles north to Louisville, Kentucky, to the Bourbon and Beyond music festival, where you'll hear icons like Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Nicks, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, and Robert Plant as you sample some of the best bourbons in the state.

    03of 11

    Party at Grape Harvests in Texas and California

    These events have been canceled for 2020. Grapefest is a favorite mid-September event in Grapevine, Texas, just outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The grape-harvesting and wine festival features grape stomping contests, wine tasting, live music, and one of the largest consumer-judged wine competitions in the nation.

    In California, September is Wine Month. Wineries from Napa Valley to Temecula Valley mark the harvest and celebrate with special wine tours, tastings, concerts, and more. 

    If you're in Sonoma later in the month, consider attending the Sonoma Harvest Music Festival.

    04of 11

    Enjoy Oktoberfest in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh

    These in-person events have been canceled in 2020. Oktoberfest, which originated in Germany, is celebrated with gusto in many parts of the U.S., particularly by German beer and bratwurst lovers. Some of the biggest gatherings american festivals and holidays the U.S. include the Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest in Canonsburg outside Pittsburgh, and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cinncinati, which in 2020 shifted to "Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Za Haus" for a virtual american festivals and holidays from September 18-27, 2020, with neighborhood "polka pop-ups" around town.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

    05of 11

    Delve Into the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

    For 2020, the event will be held online on September 25-27. National Book Festival will featureover 100 best-selling authors and children's writers, novelists, historians, and poets. This event sponsored by the Library of Congress brings a huge gathering of book lovers to the National Mall for a weekend-long event. Participants can meet authors and browse book pavilions arranged by literary genre.

    06of 11

    Check Out New York Fashion Week in New York City

    Get a sneak peek at the spring and summer collections at New York Fashion Week, which usually features runway shows and exclusive after-parties in posh New York City hot spots. The 2020 fall component of New York Fashion Week offers a Virtual Catwalk with Fashion Designers of Latin America from September 11 to 16, a Fashion Coffee Style Up show on September 12, and additional events.

    07of 11

    Play at The State Fair of Texas in Dallas

    This event has been canceled for 2020. Beginning the last Friday in September, the annual State Fair of Texas unfolds over 24 days in Dallas. With plenty of fun for the whole family—including the chance to ride one of the largest Ferris wheels in North America—the annual event brings visitors from all over the country. Attendees learn about live animals and partake in festive foods, fun games, and exciting rides.

    08of 11

    Dive Into Waikiki Roughwater Swim

    This event has been canceled for 2020. If you're looking to get a little wet and competitive over Labor Day weekend, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in Honolulu, Hawaii, invites over 1,000 swimmers to compete in a massive race through the ocean waters each year. Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Labor Day, this annual tradition has been a staple of Hawaiian culture since its inception in 1970.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

    09of 11

    Watch College Football Games

    September means kick-off time for college football. Grab your buds and head to America’s top college football destinations, such as "The Big House" Michigan Stadium (the largest football stadium in the U.S.) in Ann Arbor. Or check out Bryant–Denny Stadium at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the home of the Crimson Tide, the 2018 National College Football Champions.

    10of 11

    Partake in Music Festivals Throughout the U.S.

    These in-person events have been canceled for 2020, but some are being held virtually. With hot summer temperatures starting to cool down, September is a great time for music festivals in the U.S. Big acts come out in full force throughout the month at events like these.

    • iHeartradio Music American festivals and holidays The 2020 event will be held virtually. This Las Vegas festival spanning three days has featured popular acts like Alicia Keys, Fleetwood Mac, Mariah Carey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others.
    • One Musicfest:Monthly online indie artist performances are taking place online in 2020. Typically the Atlanta event features music such as rock, hip-hop, electro, reggae, funk, disco, and house. Past headliners include Jill Scott and George Clinton and Parliament.
    • Hopscotch Music Festival: Held in downtown Raleigh, the three-day gathering brings together more than 120 bands and has featured such names as The Flaming Lips, Nile Rodgers, Liz Phair, and Miguel.
    • RiotFest: Fans of punk and alt-rock can see bands like Blink 182, The Pixies, Cypress Hill, and more in Chicago's Douglass Park.
    • The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival: Manchester is home to this large four-day bash on hundreds of Tennessee acres with over 150 musical acts, art, camping, and party barns.
    • Monterey Jazz Festival: The world's longest-running jazz festival brings with it stars like Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra to Monterey. 
    • KaaBoo: Held in San Diego, the three-day KaaBoo bash offers various types of music, along with comedy, art, and food. Past acts include Sheryl Crow, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Black Eyed Peas.
    • Ohana Festival: Music fans gather for three days in late September at Doheny State Beach in Southern California's Dana Point. The 2021 lineup will feature Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, Yola, and more.
    • Sea. Hear. Now: A popular waterfront festival held in Asbury Park, thisJersey Shore event has more than 25 bands, as well as surfing demos, art, and regional foods. The 2021 lineup includes Pearl Jam, The Avett Brothers, Ani DiFranco, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and others.
    • Treefort Music Fest: Hundreds of musicians from around the globe perform in Boise for five days of fun. The event also includes art, film, comedy, skating, and children's activities.

    11of 11

    Experience Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)

    This event will be held virtually from August 30 to September 6, 2020, with a theme of The Multiverse. Each year, an ancient lakebed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada (called the Playa) becomes the most populous town in the entire country for several days. There's art, music, dance, community, and partying.

    On the Saturday night before Labor Day, "the Man," a large art installation that looks like a giant wooden human, burns. The last day of the gathering features the burning of the annual Temple (dedicated to a theme each year), and everyone and everything leaves with it. 

    Источник: american festivals and holidays

    7 fun ways to celebrate the holidays in Williamsburg, Virginia

    Carriage ride for ChristmasCarriage ride for Christmas — Photo courtesy of Visit Williamsburg

    Williamsburg and Yorktown, Virginia are noted for their vital part in U.S. history, playing a significant role in the American Revolution, but these days, they're also excellent spots for a Christmas and New Year's holiday getaway.

    In 18th century Williamsburg, windows were traditionally decorated by a single candle, but today the light festivities abound, as do the opportunities to learn about Christmas Past, while fully enjoying a wonderful Christmas Present. This year features tons of family-friendly activities, and here are some of the best to get you started for your yuletide travels.

    Grand Illumination

    Enjoying Christmas lights in WilliamsburgEnjoying Christmas lights in Williamsburg — Photo courtesy of Visit Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg kicks off its holiday season with three weekends of Grand Illumination. From December 3-5, 10-12, and 17-19, a lighting show extravaganza takes place, starting on Friday evenings at 6 pm, with a yule log procession along the Duke of Gloucester Street, holiday songs on Market Square, all leading to a bonfire at the historic Magazine.

    On Saturdays, starting at 5 pm, there is an appearance by Father Christmas, as well as yuletide and 18th-century music, and this all culminates with a fireworks grand finale – an 18th-century inspired pyrotechnic show over the historic Governor's Palace and Capitol Building.

    Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

    Yorktown Christmas Tree RiverwalkYorktown Christmas Tree Riverwalk — Photo courtesy of York County Tourism Development

    Over in Yorktown, the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a tradition that dates back to 1945 when a cedar tree was decorated on the corner of Main Street and Ballard. For this modern day version, the Fifes and Drums of York Town start things off with some entertainment.

    Then a procession makes its way from Victory Monument to the Riverwalk Landing, where the 20-foot artificial "Giant Everest Fir" tree is lit and the whole celebration is capped off by a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

    Busch Gardens Christmas Town

    Christmas Town Express at Busch GardensChristmas Town Express at Busch Gardens — Photo courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    Busch Gardens Christmas Town runs until January 2, and the theme park is transformed by 10 million twinkling lights, showing off one of the largest light displays in North America. In addition to rides and holiday shopping, Busch Gardens also features a "'Twas That Night" ice skating show, a Santa's workshop and a Christmas Town Express train.

    Thrill seekers can jump on the Finnegan's Flyer pendulum ride, giving a Rudolph-worthy view of the 10 million lights below. All aboard!

    Mistletoe Market

    Toyland Parade in YorktownToyland Parade in Yorktown — Photo courtesy of York County Tourism Development

    While Yorktown has a Farmers Market throughout the year, during the holiday season, it's transformed into a winter wonderland on December 11th, when it becomes the Mistletoe Market. It features an annual Toyland parade, as well as rides on the Riverwalk Landing Polar Express to loop around the festivities.

    You'll be able to buy holiday wreaths, candles and soaps for presents, as well as feast on homemade jams, jellies, cookies, cakes and much more, either to satisfy a Christmas present craving, or bring home as holiday stocking stuffers.

    Lighted Boat Parade

    Christmas on the Polar ExpressChristmas on the Polar Express — Photo courtesy of York County Tourism Development

    You'll also not want to miss the illuminating Lighted Boat Parade in Yorktown, now in its 25th season. On December 4, from 6-8 pm, the waterfront is the scene for a beach bonfire, Christmas caroling, a performance by Fifes and Drums of York Town, as well as complimentary hot cider to keep away the chills.

    All this is followed by a dazzling light show as dozens of twinkling boats make their way down the river. This free event has been a community tradition for over two decades, bringing neighbors and visitors together to celebrate the holiday season.


    Making figgy pudding during ChristmastideMaking figgy pudding during Christmastide — Photo courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation

    Make sure to also check out Christmastide, an event at the historic Jamestown Settlement, where they show off Christmas customs and traditions of the 17th and 18th century (such as making figgy pudding), in addition to holiday food, live storytelling and musical demonstrations.

    The history museum at the Jamestown Settlement, as well as the nearby American Revolution Museum are both decked out in boughs of holly, looking extremely photogenic. Christmastide runs from December 18-31, so come celebrate and learn about the past at this informative event.

    Christmas Market on Main

    While Christmas american festivals and holidays all about tradition, family and celebration, it's also about plenty of good cheer shopping, and Williamsburg certainly doesn't disappoint, as Yorktown's Christmas Market on Main serves as a one-stop location for all of your holiday shopping needs. This event runs December 4-6 and is one of Yorktown's biggest annual events.

    Over 100 local vendors and artisans line up along Main Street and offer everything from handmade soaps, holiday ornaments and much more. The market gets rung in by the town crier at 10 am, followed by a fife and drum performance, and then Kris Kringle shows up to personally greet everyone.

    On Sunday, there's also an ice sculpture carving exhibition set up to further enhance the atmosphere, so bring the whole family and prepare to spend the day.

    Dave Stamboulis

    About Dave Stamboulis

    Dave Stamboulis is a travel writer/photographer based in Bangkok. Born in Athens, Greece and growing up in the U.S., Dave first discovered Bangkok while on a 45,000-kilometer bicycle trip and moved there for good in 2005. Dave's photos have appeared in publications around the world. He's the author of Odysseus’ Last Stand, which received the Silver Medal for Travel Book of the Year from the Society of American Travel Writers.  In addition to working for Fodor’s Guidebook to Thailand, he is the author of 500 Hidden Secrets to Bangkok, and his travel stories and photography appear in publications around the globe. 

    Read more about Dave Stamboulis here.

    Connect with Dave via: Blog

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