Public Holidays in the United States

People in the United States celebrate their festivals with fervour and gusto. Here are some major festivals which are also public holidays in the country.

1. Christmas

It is an annual and perhaps the biggest festival, which is celebrated every year on December 25th, to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Most Americans celebrate Christmas with a lot of pomp and show owing to their multi-cultural population. They decorate their houses with Christmas trees, prepare a special Christmas feast for dinner which usually comprises turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables such as turnips, carrots, etc and dessert includes traditional Christmas pudding, fruitcake or apple pie. There is also another tradition observed which is that of Santa Claus- a fabled old man who is supposed to come to people’s houses on the night before Christmas through their chimneys and give Christmas presents to young children. People leave milk and cookies for Santa Claus on their doorstep on Christmas Eve too.

2. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is generally celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November every year. Its name can be literally translated to the day of thanks and the festival is celebrated to thank the harvest of the year gone by. What Americans generally refer to as the ‘Holiday season’ begins with Thanksgiving. It also celebrates the story of the Pilgrim’s meal with Native Americans and is usually the day to spend with loved ones and for giving thanks. The foods commonly associated with the festival are hot chocolate, apple cider, custard, mixed nuts, buttered ham, plum pudding, fudge and pies. Many cities even hold large festivals or parades to honour the festival. One of the largest of these parades is the New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is called Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade begins in the morning and up to the Central Park West to Macy’s Herald Square on 34th street. The parade started in 1924 and over two million people attend the parade annually. This is also the second-oldest parade after Detroit’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade behind the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.

3. Independence Day

The American Independence is celebrated of the fourth of July every year and it is the national day of the United States. It commemorates the declaration of the American Independence on July 4, 1776. The then Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer to be ruled by the monarch of Britain and were now united, free, and independent states. In 1776, The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, that is, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4. Today, on this day, the American Independence is celebrated by lighting fireworks, participating in and watching parades, other festivities such as hosting barbecues, carnivals, fairs, or other things such as concerts, games, family togethers, picnics, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

4. Labour Day

Labour Day in the United States of America is a public holiday which is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is celebrated to honour the American labour movement and the power of the laborers who are essential for the smooth functioning of any society. It is specifically for the eight-hour day movement which advocated eight hours of work followed by eight hours of recreation. It is also known as May Day.

5. Memorial Day

The Memorial Day is an important holiday in the United States. It is celebrated for remembering and honouring the people who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday falls on the last Monday of May annually. Many people even visit the cemeteries and memorials on this day, particularly to honour those who died in military service. Many volunteers traditionally place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. This day is also considered to be the unofficial start of summer in the United States.

6. New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve

The start of every new year is on the 1st of January. This is in accordance with the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendars. The start of New Year's Day, at midnight, is through the use of fireworks, parties and special events, which are often televised too. American like to celebrate this day with a lot of gusto and the countdown to the new year begins on the previous day which is the New Year’s Eve.

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