Practical Info, USA

American Holidays

Getting paid to NOT go the work?


Pretty exciting, uh? When is it?


The federal government proclaims ten days holidays a year.

New Year’s Eve: January 1st.

Let’s start the year on a good note. Happy New Year!

Martin Luther King Jr Birthday: 3rd Monday of January.

This day commemorates and honors the memory of a great human rights activist. This African-American clergyman, born on January 15, 1929 and killed April 4th, 1968, is recognized for his tireless fight for the defense of civil rights and racial equality through nonviolent means. On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Washington’s Day – also called President’s Day: 3rd Monday of February.

Created to celebrate the first President of United States, George Washington, this day, commonly called President’s Day, honors the legacy of past presidents.

Memorial Day: Last Monday of May.

Originally called « Decoration Day », it was created to honor the people killed in the American Civil War. But, today, it has become a day where the men and women sacrificing their lives in battle are remembered. On this day, the President goes to Arlington Cemetery, located in the suburb of Washington D.C, to pay homage to those Americans.

Independence Day: July 4th.

Important date in US history. July 4th, 1776 marks the nation’s birthday, when the 13 Colonies of North America declared their independence from Great Britain, and adopted the Declaration of Independence.  It’s the day of picnics, barbecues, parades, concerts, where friends and family enjoy their time with each other and end the night admiring beautiful fireworks.

Labor Day: First Monday of September.

It was created to celebrate and honor, typically with parades, the American workers and labor force who contribute to make the strength, prosperity and well-being of their country. For most Americans this day marks the end to summer and the start of school year. It’s also the kickoff of the NFL and college football season.

Colombus Day: Second Monday of October.

October 12, 1492, the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The 400th anniversary of this discovery has inspired President Benjamin Harrison, and decided to establish a public holiday celebrating the « pioneer in the progress and enlightenment, » Christopher Columbus. Parades are organized on this day, events and schools retrace the story of Columbus and the discovery of the Americas. However, this holiday is pretty controversial. Some US states refuse to recognize Colombus day, like Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota. Many states prefer to celebrate the « Indigenous People’s Day. » (For the Columbus Day observances, you can visit this web site: timeanddate)

Veterans Day: November 11th.

This holiday was originally called Armistice Day and was created to commemorate Americans who have served during World War I. Today it honors all military veterans of all wars in which the U.S has battled. Veterans’ organizations hold parades, and the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown  Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Thursday of November.

This holiday is traditionally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for whatever you have to be thankful for: health? family? friends? your cute cat? It takes its roots from fall 1621, where the Pilgrims held a three-day feast, attended by Native Americans, to celebrate their first harvest in the New World. Americans commonly regard this event as the « First Thanksgiving. » Thanksgiving feast today, as a tradition, almost always includes some of the food that was served on that so called « First Thanksgiving »: baked or roasted turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Get some lose clothes, believe me, it’s recommended!

Christmas Day: December 25th.

This is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The tradition consists on decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts and being with friends and family. With Thanksgiving and New Year, Christmas is a major holiday in the US, celebrated by many non-Christian Americans as well.


Now, note those dates in your calendar and enjoy!



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