Public holidays in the United States

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For constitutional reasons, the United States does not have national holidays in the sense that most other nations do, i.e. days on which all businesses are closed by law and employees have a day off.[1][not in citation given] Pursuant to the Tenth Amendment, the U.S. federal government only has constitutional jurisdiction to establish holidays for itself, for certain federally chartered and regulated businesses (such as federal banks), and for Washington, D.C.; otherwise, constitutional authority to create public holidays is a power reserved to the states. Most states also allow local jurisdictions (cities, villages, etc.) to establish their own local holidays. As a result, holidays are not governed at the federal level as each state has jurisdiction over its holidays. Although holidays are declared as official, the government, whether it be federal, state, or local, cannot dictate to businesses when they need to officially close.[2]

Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio is the site of this Christmas display with over 3.5 million lights.

As of 2012, there are eleven federal holidays in the United States, ten annual holidays and one quadrennial holiday (Inauguration Day).[3] Pursuant to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 (effective 1971), official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year's Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.[4]

All current federal holidays have also been made public holidays in all 50 states. States are not bound to observe the holidays on the same dates as the federal holidays but they are free to do as they will. Many states also have additional holidays that are not observed by the U.S. federal government, such as Cesar Chavez Day (California, Colorado, and Texas), Emancipation Day (District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Susan B. Anthony Day (California, Florida, New York, Wisconsin, and West Virginia), and Good Friday (a legal holiday in 12 states). The day after Thanksgiving is a public holiday in California.[5]

Malls, shopping centers and most retail stores close only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and many on Easter Sunday as well, but remain open on all other holidays (early closing on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and sometimes on other major holidays).[6] Virtually all companies observe and close on the major holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Some non-retail business close on the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) while some (such as federal banks and post offices) are not allowed to close on the day after Thanksgiving. Some smaller businesses normally open on Sunday will close on Easter Sunday, if it is their experience they will have very few customers that day.[7]

Federal holidays[edit]

Federal holidays are designated by Congress in Title V of the United States Code (5 U.S.C. § 6103). A federal holiday is a day off for federal government employees. State governments generally observe federal holidays. Most private companies and certain other businesses, such as the United States Postal Service, observe some or all federal holidays as well.

If a holiday falls on a Saturday, the federal government celebrates it the preceding Friday; if a holiday falls on a Sunday the federal government celebrates it the following Monday. Most, but not all, states also observe a Sunday holiday on the following Monday. States may observe a Saturday holiday on the preceding Friday, on the following Monday, or not at all.

Private companies and other businesses are not required to follow either the federal government or state government holidays. In particular, banks that close on Saturdays do not observe a federal holiday when it falls on Saturday.

DateOfficial NameRemarks
January 1 (Fixed)New Year's Day[8]Celebrates beginning of the Gregorian calendar year. Festivities include counting down to 12:00 midnight on the preceding night, New Year's Eve, often with fireworks display and party. The ball drop at Times Square in New York City has become a national New Year's festivity. Traditional end of Christmas and holiday season.[9]
Third Monday in JanuaryBirthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader, who was actually born on January 15, 1929; combined with other holidays in several states. Some cities and municipalities hold parades; and more recently, the 1994 King Holiday and Service Act, which was passed to encourage Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service, has gained in popularity (sometimes referred to as a National Day of Service).
Third Monday in February (Presidents' Day)Washington's BirthdayWashington's Birthday was first declared a federal holiday by an 1879 act of Congress. The Uniform Holidays Act, 1968, shifted the date of the commemoration of Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February (between February 15 and 21, meaning the observed holiday never falls on Washington's actual birthday). Because of this, combined with the fact that President Lincoln's birthday falls on February 12, many people now refer to this holiday as "Presidents' Day" and consider it a day honoring all American presidents. However, neither the Uniform Holidays Act nor any subsequent law changed the name of the holiday from Washington's Birthday to Presidents' Day.[10]
Last Monday in MayMemorial DayHonors the nation's war dead from the Civil War onwards; marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season. (traditionally May 30, shifted by the Uniform Holidays Act 1968)
July 4 (Fixed)Independence DayCelebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence from British rule, also called the Fourth of July. Fireworks celebration are held in many cities throughout the nation.
First Monday in SeptemberLabor DayCelebrates the achievements of workers and the labor movement; marks the unofficial end of the summer season.
Second Monday in OctoberColumbus DayHonors Christopher Columbus, traditional discoverer of the Americas. In some areas it is also a celebration of Italian culture and heritage. (traditionally October 12)
November 11 (Fixed)Veterans DayHonors all veterans of the United States armed forces. It is observed on November 11 to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the Armistice with Germany went into effect).
Fourth Thursday in NovemberThanksgiving DayTraditionally celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. Traditionally includes the sharing of a turkey dinner.
December 25 (Fixed)ChristmasThe most widely celebrated holiday of the Christian year, Christmas is observed as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

Abolished federal holidays[edit]

Victory Day[edit]

Crowds celebrating V-J Day in Times Square

In 1975, the one notable holiday called Victory Day, also called "VJ Day" and "Victory over Japan Day" was abolished after being in place since 1948. At this time, only one state in the union (Rhode Island) still celebrates it.[11] According to this article and other sources, some claim the holiday to be racist and generally encourages hate against the Japanese Americans, and possibly other races from Asia. Also, the fact that an atomic bomb was used to end the war with Japan is seen as cause for its abolition. Today, only the U.S. state of Rhode Island still officially observes this holiday with public offices and schools being closed.

Proposed federal holidays[edit]

Many additional federal holidays have been proposed. According to an article from CBS, federal holidays are generally "expensive" and they only allow federal workers to take the day off. As the U.S. federal government is a large employer, the holidays are expensive. If a holiday is controversial, opposition will generally cause bills that propose such holidays to die. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, for example, was one that took much effort to pass. And once it did pass, it took more effort for all states to eventually recognize it.[12]

The following list is an example of holidays that have been proposed and have reasons why they are not observed at the federal level today. Some of the holidays are observed at the state level.

DateOfficial NameRemarks
Third Monday of FebruarySusan B. Anthony DayThe holiday was proposed by Carolyn Maloney in a H. R. 655 on February 11, 2011. Today, the bill is dead.[13]
Last Monday of MarchCesar Chavez DayThe holiday was proposed California Democrat Joe Baca in H.R. 76 and was further endorsed by President Barack Obama[14]
Third Monday in MayMalcolm X DayThe holiday was proposed in H.R. 323 in 1993 and 1994 by Congressman Charles Rangel.[15]
June 14Flag DayProposed several times, but only to become a national observance when President Harry Truman signed it into law as such.[16]
Third Monday of SeptemberNative Americans' DayThe holiday was petitioned for multiple times and was introduced into Congress multiple time, but was unsuccessful The proclamation exists today as the "Native American Awareness Week."[17]
First Tuesday after November 1Election DayThere have been multiple movements for this holiday to be official, with the last happening in with the "1993 Motor Voter Act", mainly to boost voter turnout.[18]

Federal observances[edit]

The Congress has designated various United States federal observances—days, weeks, months, and other periods for the observance, commemoration, or recognition of events, individuals, or other topics. These observances do not have the status of holidays in that federal employees do not receive any days free from work for observances.

Trading holidays[edit]

See also New York Stock Exchange

Trading holidays of the New York Stock Exchange closely resembles those designated as federal holidays except for Columbus Day and Veterans Day. A total of nine days are designated, which includes Good Friday where trading is not done.[19]

In addition, partial trading occurs on the day after Thanksgiving, the day before Independence Day, and Christmas Eve.

The official list is as follows:

Bank holidays[edit]

U.S. bank holidays are generally the same as those observed at the federal level, but depend on the bank. For example, JP Morgan Chase observes all federal holidays except Columbus Day.[20] U.S. Bank on the other hand observes all of the federal holidays.[21]

Religious and cultural holidays[edit]

A Stabat Mater depiction, 1868

The religious and cultural holidays in the United States is characterized by a diversity of religious beliefs and practices. However, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." 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.[22]

The majority of Americans (73–80%) identify themselves as Christians and about 15–20% have no religious affiliation.[23] 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.[24] The same survey says that other religions (including, for example, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism) collectively make up about 4% of the adult population, another 15% of the adult population claim no religious affiliation, and 5.2% said they did not know, or they refused to reply. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew forum, 36 percent of Americans state that they attend services nearly every week or more.[25]

Christian holidays: Good Friday, Easter, and Christmas[edit]

Main article: Liturgical year

In the United States, Christmas is a government holiday while Good Friday is not at the federal level. Good Friday is a state holiday in Connecticut,[26] Delaware,[27] Florida,[28] Hawaii,[29] Indiana,[30] Kentucky,[31] Louisiana,[32] New Jersey,[33] North Carolina,[34] North Dakota,[35] Pennsylvania,[36] Tennessee[37] and Texas.[38] State and local government offices and courts are closed, as well as some banks and postal offices in these states, and in those counties and municipalities where Good Friday is observed as holiday. Good Friday is also a holiday in U.S. territories of Guam,[39] the U.S. Virgin Islands[40] and Puerto Rico.[41]

While most[citation needed] stores close on Christmas, some remain open. For example, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy remain open.[42] A reference in A Christmas Story shows a Chinese restaurant being the only establishment open on Christmas. Also, many Jewish establishments remain open on Christmas, but will close on Hannukah instead.[citation needed]

Some private businesses and certain other institutions are closed on Good Friday.[43] The financial market and stock market is closed on Good Friday.[44] 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.[3]

Easter is recognized as a flag day but has not been a federal holiday because it always falls on a Sunday, which is a non-working day for federal and state employees. However, many companies, including banks, malls, shopping centers and most private retail stores that normally open on Sundays are closed on Easter.[7]

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 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.
February or March, date variesMardi 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.
March 17St. Patrick's DayA holiday honoring Saint Patrick that celebrates Irish culture. Primary activity is simply the wearing of green clothing ("wearing o' the green"), although drinking beer dyed green is also popular. Big parades in some cities, such as in Chicago, where there is also a tradition of dying the Chicago River green.
Sunday before EasterPalm SundayCelebration to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
The Friday before (western) EasterGood 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,[26] Delaware,[27] Florida,[28] Hawaii,[29] Indiana,[30] Kentucky,[31] Louisiana,[32] New Jersey,[33] North Carolina,[34] North Dakota,[35] Tennessee[37] and Texas.[38] State and local government offices and courts are closed, as well as state-chartered banks and in these jurisdictions. Federal banks and post offices that are located in buildings that close for Good Friday and Easter will also be closed. Good Friday is also a holiday in U.S. territories of Guam,[39] U.S. Virgin Islands[40] and Puerto Rico.[41] Many public and private schools, colleges, universities and private-sector businesses; and the New York Stock Exchange and financial markets are closed on Good Friday.
Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, date varies from March 22 to April 25, inclusive (see Computus),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.[45] 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. Not generally observed by businesses.
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 a few remain open 24 hours.

Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur[edit]

Main article: Hebrew calendar
A Menorah, Hanukkah menorah

According to various sources, the three most commonly celebrated Jewish holidays are Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hannukah.[46] Passover and Yom Kippur in addition to Rosh Hashannah and Hannukah are recognized as an optional state level holiday in the U.S. state of Texas[47][48]

March/April/May (depends on Hebrew Calendar)PassoverA seven- or eight-day festival in Judaism, commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. For Karaite Jews, Passover is the holiest day of the year and is the festival that marks the beginning of the year. Some Christian groups celebrate Passover instead of Easter. In many regions with large Jewish communities, schools close for all or part of Passover.
September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)Rosh HashanahObserved by Jewish people. Traditional beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. It also celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Hebrew calendar. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close on Rosh Hashanah. This holiday is observed for one day in Israel and for 2 days outside Israel, the Diaspora.
September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)Yom KippurObserved by Jewish people.

This day marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that began with Rosh Hashanah. It is described in Leviticus as a "Sabbath of rest," and synagogue services begin the preceding sundown, resume the following morning, and continue to sundown. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close on Yom Kippur.

November/December/January (depends on Hebrew calendar)HanukkahAn eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC. In regions with large Jewish populations, schools and universities may close for part of Hanukkah.

Hindu holidays: Diwali and Holi[edit]

Rangoli decorations, made using coloured powder, are popular during Diwali

According to some sources, the Hindu holidays of Diwali and Holi are commonly celebrated as a "mainstream" holiday throughout the United States, not only by Indian Americans or peoples of Indian descent. Many firms that hire a people from India will even go as far as observing the holidays with a celebration within the company or even approving it as a paid day off.[49][50] Holi, the "festival of colors" has inspired a Broadway musical based on this festival.[51] New York City Council has voted on a resolution that may make Diwali and Holi a legal holiday in Resolution 1863-2013.[52] As of August 2013, the resolution has passed and the holidays are now officially legal holidays in New York City.[53]

February or March (depends on Hindu calendar)HoliHoli (English pronunciation: /ˈhl/) (Sanskrit: होली) is a spring festival also known as festival of colours, and sometimes festival of love.[54][55] 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.[56]
October or November (depends on Hindu calendar)DiwaliDiwali (English pronunciation: /dɨˈwɑːl/ or English pronunciation: /dɨˈvɑːl/) also called the "festival of lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year.[57][58] The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.[38][59][60] The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartik. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Muslim holidays: Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha[edit]

Main article: Muslim holidays
Mehndi is the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration, commonly applied during Eid al-Fitr.

According to various sources, the major holidays of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha have been recognized in the United States. Awareness of these holidays can be found in calendars published by major calendar manufacturers.[61] [62][63] According to Al-Jazeera, schools in the U.S. states of New York and Michigan (mainly Dearborn) may begin to close in observance of all Muslim holidays.[64]

July or August (depends on Muslim calendar)RamadanRamadan (Arabic: رمضانRamaḍān, IPA: [rɑmɑˈdˤɑːn];[variations] Persian: رَمَضانRamazān; Urdu: رَمْضانRamzān; Turkish: Ramazan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar;[65] Muslims worldwide observe this as a month of fasting.[66][67] This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.[68] The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.[69][70] The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness.[71] Fasting is fard ("obligatory") for adult Muslims, except those who are ill, traveling, pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic or going through menstrual bleeding.[72] Fasting the month of Ramadan was made obligatory (wājib) during the month of Sha'aban, in the second year after the Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina.
July or August (depends on Muslim calendar)Eid al-FitrEid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطرʻĪd 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[73] 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.[74]
September or October (depends on Muslim calendar)Eid al-AdhaEid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحىʿīd al-aḍḥā [ʕiːd ælˈʔɑdˤħæ] meaning "Festival of the sacrifice"), also called the Feast of the Sacrifice, the Major Festival,[75] 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.[76] In the lunar-based Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah and lasts for four days.[77] In the international Gregorian calendar, the dates vary from year to year, drifting approximately 11 days earlier each year.

Other religious, traditional, and informal holidays celebrated in the United States[edit]

In addition to the federal/national holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by businesses as holidays (Except for Easter and most often also on Good Friday);[7] indeed, many are viewed as opportunities for commercial promotion. Because of this commercialization, some critics apply the deprecatory term Hallmark holiday to such days, after the Hallmark greeting card company.

January or FebruaryLunar New YearFirst day of the year in the lunar calendar, traditionally used by many East Asian communities.
February 2Groundhog DayThe day on which folklore states that the behavior of a groundhog emerging from its burrow is said to predict the onset of Spring in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
March 8International Women's DayA day set aside to honor women and their accomplishments in history.
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.
Last Friday in AprilArbor DayA day for planting trees.
May 1May DayIn most other countries, May 1 is International Workers' Day, the equivalent of Labor Day, and some Americans do observe May 1 in that context. But before it was a labor-related holiday, May Day was a Celtic and English holiday that celebrated the transition from Spring to Summer, and it is that holiday that those Americans and Canadians who still celebrate May Day call to mind.
May 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 USA than in Mexico itself, often celebrated even by non-Mexican-Americans. Additionally, this "holiday" is often mistaken by Americans as being Mexican Independence Day, which is actually observed on September 16.
Second Sunday in MayMother's DayHonors mothers and motherhood (made a "federal holiday" by Presidential order, although most federal agencies are already closed on Sundays)
First Sunday in JuneChildren's DayProclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2001 to honor children.[78]
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.
Third Sunday in JuneFather's DayHonors fathers and fatherhood.
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 nation-wide demonstration for equal rights, the Women's Strike for Equality, in 1970.
First Sunday after Labor DayGrandparent's DaySimilar to Mother's/Father's Day but honoring grandparents and grandparenthood.
September 11Patriot DayCommemorates the attacks on the World Trade Center (New York City), The Pentagon (Washington, D.C.), and United Airlines Flight 93 in 2001.
September 17Constitution/Citizenship DayCommemorates the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.
October 6German-American DayCommemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld near the Rhine landed in Philadelphia. These families subsequently founded in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlement in the original thirteen American colonies.
October 9Leif Erikson DayHonors Leif Erikson, the Norse Viking explorer, who led the first Europeans to discover and set foot in the New World.
First Tuesday after the first Monday in NovemberElection DayObserved by the federal and state governments in applicable years; legal holiday in some states.
Day After ThanksgivingBlack FridayTraditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the United States. "Black Friday" is not a holiday under that name, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees. Virtually all schools, colleges, and universities are also closed, along with many non-retail private sector businesses. Federal government offices, post offices and federally chartered banks must open on Black Friday (unless the President issues an executive order or proclamation allowing them to close). It is called "Black Friday" because it begins the sales period when most American retailers make their profits for the year. Contrary to popular belief, Black Friday is not the busiest sales day of the year (that honor belongs to Christmas Eve, December 24). Rather, it is the barometer by which retailers are able to gauge December sales and whether they will indeed end the year "in the black" (instead of "in the red"). A busy Black Friday almost invariably indicates a busy shopping season, while poor sales on Black Friday usually herald a very slow season.
December 7Pearl Harbor Remembrance DayDay to mourn the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
December 26 through January 1KwanzaaAfrican American holiday celebration created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga
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.

Legal holidays by states[edit]

Not to be confused with tax holidays
State3rd Monday in JanuaryFebruary 4February 12th3rd Monday in FebruaryFebruary 15March 26March 31Variable date in AprilApril 163rd Monday in AprilVariable date1st Monday in JuneJune 11June 143rd Friday in August2nd Monday in OctoberTuesday after 1st Monday in November (in even-numbered years)Friday after 4th Thursday in NovemberDecember 24December 31
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day[a]Rosa Parks DayLincoln's BirthdayWashington's Birthday[b]Susan B. Anthony DayPrince Kūhiō DayCésar Chávez DayGood FridayEmancipation DayPatriots' DayConfederate Memorial DayJefferson Davis DayKamehameha DayFlag DayAdmission DayColumbus DayGeneral Election DayDay after ThanksgivingChristmas EveNew Year's Eve
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
(with Jefferson's Birthday)
NoNoNoNoNoNoFourth Monday in AprilYesNoNoNoYes
(with Fraternal Day and American Indian Heritage Day)
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
(with Daisy Gatson Bates Day)
 Colorado[84]YesNoNoYesNoNoOptional holidayNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNo
 Washington, D.C.[87]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNo
 Georgia[89]YesNoNoDecember 24thNoNoNoNoNoNoApril 26th (observed on fourth Monday in April)NoNoNoNoYesNoRobert E. Lee DayWashington's BirthdayNo
 Indiana[93]YesNoDay after ThanksgivingDecember 24NoNoNoYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesLincoln's BirthdayWashington's BirthdayNo
 Maryland[99]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNative American Heritage DayNoNo
(with Robert E. Lee Day)
NoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoLast Monday in AprilLast Monday in May (with Memorial Day)NoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
(with Lincoln's Birthday)
 Nevada[107]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoFamily DayNoNo
 New Hampshire[108]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo[d]No[d]YesNoNo
 New Jersey[109]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNoNoNo
 New Mexico[110]YesNoNoDay after ThanksgivingNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoWashington's Birthday[a]NoNo
 New York[111]YesNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNosecond Sunday in JuneNoYesYesNoNoNo
 North Carolina[112]YesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNo
 North Dakota[113]YesNoNoNoYesNoNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
 Rhode Island[118]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoYesNoNo
 South Carolina[119]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoMay 10NoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
 South Dakota[120]YesNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYes Native American DayNoNoNoNo
 Texas[122]YesNoNoYesNoNoOptional holidayYesNoNoConfederate Heroes Day on January 19 (partial staffing holiday)NoNoNoNoNoNoYesYesNo
(with Lincoln's Birthday)
(with Lee–Jackson Day)
 West Virginia[127]YesNoNoYesOn even-numbered Election DayNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoYesNoYesOne half dayOne half day

^ a. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is known officially as Martin Luther King, Jr./Civil Rights Day in Arizona,[81] and New Hampshire,[108] Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee's Birthdays in Arkansas,[82] Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Florida,[88] and Maryland,[99] Martin Luther King Jr. / Idaho Human Rights Day in Idaho,[91] and Martin Luther King's and Robert E. Lee's Birthdays in Mississippi.[103]

^ b. Washington's Birthday is known officially as President's Day in Alaska,[80] California,[83] Hawaii,[90] Idaho,[91] Maryland,[99] Nebraska,[106] New Hampshire,[108] Ohio,[114] Tennessee,[121] Washington,[126] West Virginia,[127] and Wyoming,[130] Washington - Lincoln Day in Colorado (CRS 24-11-101),[84] Lincoln/Washington/Presidents' Day in Arizona,[81] George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day in Arkansas,[82] Presidents' Day in Hawaii,[90] Massachusetts,[100] New Mexico,[110] Oklahoma,[115] South Dakota,[120] Texas,[122] and Vermont,[124] Washington's Birthday/President's Day in Maine,[98] Presidents Day in Michigan,[101] Minnesota,[102] Nevada,[107] New Jersey,[109] and Oregon,[116] Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday in Montana,[105] Recognition of the birthday of George Washington in North Dakota,[113] Washington and Lincoln Day in Utah,[123] and George Washington Day in Virginia.[125]

^ c. Day after Thanksgiving is observed in lieu of Columbus Day in Minnesota.[102]

^ d. Columbus Day is listed as a state holiday in New Hampshire although state offices remain open.[108]

^ e. President's Day, Good Friday (11am-3pm), Juneteenth Day (June 19), Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Partisan Primary Election Day, and General Election Day are listed as a state holiday in Wisconsin although state offices remain open.[128][129]

Legal holidays observed nationwide[edit]

Other holidays locally observed[edit]

Non-holiday notable days[edit]

  • Super Bowl Sunday (the day of the National Football League's championship, festivities generally including in-home parties and watching the game on television with beverages and snacks)
  • Super Tuesday (political event, variable)
  • 420 (April 20th; counterculture holiday in which participants meet and consume cannabis)
  • Tax Freedom Day (day in which an average citizen is said to have worked enough to pay his or her taxes for the year)
  • Opening Day (The beginning of the Major League Baseball season and an unofficial indication that summer is approaching)
  • Tax Day (federal and state tax deadline, (April 15) or if on weekend or holiday, next closest Monday or business day)
  • Star Wars Day (unofficial holiday created by fans to honor the Star Wars franchise. Typically May 4 for the pun "May the fourth be with you")
  • Free Comic Book Day (an annual promotional effort started in 2002 to bring in new consumers to independent comic book stores, takes place the first Saturday in May)
  • Go Skateboarding Day (June 21).
  • Oktoberfest (celebrated most often in areas with contemporary or historic populations of German heritage)
  • Black Friday (Busy shopping day where stores lower prices the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping season)
  • Small Business Saturday (The day after Black Friday; encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local)
  • Cyber Monday (The equivalent of Black Friday, except online, the Monday after Black Friday)
  • Festivus (December 23): made famous on the television show Seinfeld.
  • Spring Break (one week in late winter or spring that schools are off)
  • Summer Vacation (summer months in which schools are off)

See also[edit]


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  133. ^
  134. ^ Section 1-3-8

External links[edit]