U.S. Holidays – A List of Observed Holidays in the United States
The list of U.S holidays changes slightly from year to year. However, here’s the basic list of all holidays in the United States, with some historical perspective:
U.S. Holidays – A Summary of the Traditional Dates
New Year’s Day – Julius Caesar established January 1 as the first day of the year in 45 BC. Although the date varies by time and culture, most Western nations, including the U.S., currently celebrate the New Year holiday on January 1.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan established this national holiday for the third Monday of January to commemorate the work of this famous civil rights leader in the U.S.
President’s Day – George Washington was born on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12. In order to consolidate the two commemorations, and honor all other past presidents, Richard Nixon approved President’s Day in 1971. President’s Day is currently observed on the third Monday in February.
Easter – Easter Sunday (also known as Resurrection Sunday) is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. This dating method was first established at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the culmination of the Christian Gospel. Jesus Christ brought salvation to the world through his death. Those who put their trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross, and believe that God raised Him from the dead three days later, pass from death to eternal life.
Memorial Day – Originally established as Decoration Day in 1868 to honor those who died in the Civil War, Memorial Day now commemorates all those who have died to protect the liberty of the United States. Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May. In 1949, President Harry Truman also established Armed Forces Day as the third Saturday in May to honor all branches of the U.S. military.
Independence Day – The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, declaring the move by the thirteen American colonies to form a new republic separate from British rule. The Fourth of July celebration commemorates this Declaration of Independence and desire to create a new nation conceived in liberty.
Labor Day – First celebrated in 1882 by the Central Labor Union of New York City, Labor Day is now observed as a national holiday for all the working men and women of the United States. Labor Day occurs on the first Monday in September.
Columbus Day – In 1492, Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue” looking for a shorter route to Asia from Spain. He landed in the Caribbean Islands on October 12, 1492. Although Christopher Columbus never set foot in the Continental U.S. territory, he got his own national holiday in 1971 on the second Monday in October.
Veteran’s Day – Originally established as Armistice Day in 1929 to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, it was changed to Veteran’s Day by the U.S. Congress and President Eisenhower in 1954. The national holiday on November 11 now honors all who have fought and served for the U.S.
Thanksgiving – Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony first decreed a public Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to God in 1621. President George Washington established Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday on November 26, 1789. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as the national holiday, and then Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt formally established the fourth Thursday of every November as a public day of thanksgiving and prayer in the U.S.
Christmas – The Winter solstice period has been celebrated as the end of the old and the beginning of the new throughout history and culture. For similar reasons, Christians chose December 25 to celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. While Christmas has non-Christian traditions and trappings, the simple message is Jesus -- God incarnate, born of a virgin, fulfilling the Jewish prophecies, entering humanity to seek and save a lost world.
U.S. Holidays – No List is Complete, Sorry
No list of U.S. holidays seems to make everyone happy. The foregoing is a traditional list of the major holidays in the United States. Of course, other holidays and celebrations are important to certain citizens of the U.S, including Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Secretary’s Day, Boss’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Earth Day, Flag Day, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Cinco De Mayo, Passover, Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Ramadan, Muharram, Ashura, Kwanzaa, Patriot Day, Opening Day, United Nations Day, Halloween, All Saints Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Election Day, whatever day… Have a great day!