Understanding Holidays in the United States

Holidays are occasions we use to spend quality time with family and friends and take time off from our busy schedules. A holiday is usually a day set apart by law or custom, where work or other activities like work or school including school are either suspended or completely reduced. Generally, holidays are meant to let people celebrate or honor an occasion or tradition of historical or cultural importance. This is also a time where people have a chance to meet their extended family members, old friends, neighbors, or even colleagues.

In United States, most of the federal holidays that we observe fall under the federal calendar system. Each state also has its own holiday, which it celebrates. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two most celebrated holidays that Americans observe nationwide. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both national holidays since they are observed by the majority of states in United States.

In the United States, there are 12 official holidays observed across the country during a single year. Some states or counties do not observe all of them, while others observe all of them. The most popular and widely-admitted holidays in the United States are Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Though these holidays were officially founded by the United States government, local, state, and county governments often celebrate these holidays differently.

Thanksgiving is the first Monday in November. This is the traditional start of the harvesting season in the northern hemisphere. Farmers and their relatives and friends gather at local community centers, churches, homes, outbuildings, and schools to share meals, talk, and relax. Many Americans hold Thanksgiving Day parties, thanksgiving day lunches, and family get-togethers to observe the spirit of thanksgiving.

A number of federal holidays are observed in the southern U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. One of the most popular of these is Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, February 14. This day honors the religious leader who helped initiate the civil rights movement. His achievements are celebrated around the world with special prayer vigils, programs, and tributes. On this day, many U.S. federal employees and their families go home to spend time with their loved ones.

On some federal days, such as Thanksgiving, the names of those killed in acts of terrorism or those who have died in the line of duty are also publicly acknowledged. Historically, soldiers in the U.S. military are designated as such on these days. In addition, children of military personnel or their spouses may be given a holiday name day. There are also officially approved patriotic holiday symbols and colors for use on many official documents, including holiday cards and Christmas cards. Even the U.S. flag can be displayed on government buildings and on a variety of other items, such as buttons, tablecloths, and key chains.