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Holidays in the United States of America -



Holidays in the United States of America
Contents
1. Introduction (Only names)1
2. New Year's Day4
3. Martin Luther King's Day.5
4. President's Day..7
5. Memorial Day...12
6. Independence Day.14
7. Labour Day ...16
8. Columbus Day...18
9. Veterans Day.20
10. Thanksgiving Day.21
11. Christmas...25
12. St.Valentine's Day28
13. April Fool's Day30
14. Halloween..30
15. Easter.32
16. Conclusion.34
1. Only names
People in every culture celebrate holidays. Although the word "holiday" literally means "holy day," most American holidays are not religious, but commemorative in nature and origin. Because the nation is blessed with rich ethnic heritage it is possible to trace some of the American holidays to diverse cultural sources and traditions, but all holidays have taken on a distinctively American flavour. In the United States, the word "holiday" is synonymous with "celebration".
In the strict sense, there are no federal (national) holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its holidays. In practice, however, most states observe the federal ("legal or public ") holidays, even though the President and Congress can legally designate holidays only for federal government employees.
The following holidays per year are proclaimed by the federal government.
New Year's Day January, 1
Martin Luther King Day third Monday in January
Presidents' Day third Monday in February
Memorial Day last Monday in May
Independence Day July, 4
Labour Day first Monday in September
Columbus Day second Monday in October
Veterans' Day November, 11
Thanksgiving Day fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day December, 25
In 1971, the dates of many federal holidays were officially moved to the nearest Monday by then-President Richard Nixon. There are four holidays which are not necessarily celebrated on Mondays: Thanksgiving Day, New Year's Day, Independence Day and Christmas Day. When New Year's Day, Independence Day, or Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, the next day is also a holiday. When one of these holidays falls on a Saturday, the previous day is also a holiday. Federal government offices, including the post office, are always closed on all federal holidays. Schools and businesses close on major holidays like Independence Day and Christmas Day but may not always be closed, for example, on Presidents' Day or Veterans' Day.
Federal holidays are observed according to the legislation of individual states. The dates of these holidays, and others, are decided upon by each state government, not by the federal (national) government. Each state can agree on the same date that the President has proclaimed, such as Thanksgiving Day. State legislation can also change the date of a holiday for its own special commemoration. Cities and towns can decide not to celebrate a federal legal holiday at all. However, the majority of the states (and the cities and towns within them) usually choose the date or day celebrated by the rest of the nation. There are other "legal" or "public" holidays which are observed at the state or local level. The closing of local government offices and businesses will vary. Whether citizens have the day off from work or not depends on local decisions.
There are other "legal" or "public" holidays which are observed at the state or local level. The closing of local government offices and businesses will vary. Whether citizens have the day off from work or not depends on local decisions. Some "legal" or "public" holidays are specific only to an individual state. For example, Nebraska always celebrates Arbor Day on April 22, the birthday of the originator of the holiday. Since Arbor Day originated as a treeplanting day, different states change the date depending on the best season for planting trees in their region: Hawaiians plant trees on the first Friday in November.
You can thumb through an ordinary calendar and discover many special days i.e. "minor holidays" which are observed by a relatively small number of people or by a particular interest group. For example, "Girl Scouts' Birthday" (March 12), "Citizenship Day" (September 17), "United Nations Day" (October 24) would have limited observance. "Hog Callers' Day" would have even less.
Events involving famous Americans, living or dead, have a wider appeal. Many Americans may have forgotten the exact date when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated (November 22, 1963), but they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first learned about his tragic death. Other days commemorate events which may be personally significant for one generation but have less relevance for another. For example, Pearl Harbor Day (December 7) marks the day when Japanese Imperial Forces attacked Hawaii in 1941 and brought the US into World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his address to the nation referred to the attack as "a day that will live in infamy". Adults and children of the time have a personal recollection of the day. The younger generations of today may know of the event from their history books only.
Other holidays such as "Groundhog Day" (February 2) are whimsically observed, at least in the media. The day is associated with folklore which has grown up in rural America. It is believed, by some, if the groundhog, or woodchuck comes out of its hole in the ground and sees its shadow on that day it will become frightened and jump back in. This means there will be at least six more weeks of winter. If it doesn't see its shadow, it will not be afraid and spring will begin shortly.
Critics of the proliferation of holidays point an accusing finger at greeting card manufacturers and other entrepreneurs. The critics say that "Holiday X" is simply promoted to get people to buy their wares. "Secretary's Day", or "Grandparents Day" might fall into this category.
Obviously, no effort has been made to be comprehensive in treating all holidays that Americans would possibly celebrate. Only "major" holidays, recognized if not celebrated by Americans in general, have been included here. Each unit is introduced by a reading the passage about the background of the American holiday or celebration. When relevant, a speech, song, or poem pertaining to the holiday follows. There might be a special feature about the holiday, such as regional or religious factors which
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