Major U.S. Holidays

The following legal holidays are days when many businesses, schools, and banks are closed. We hope in addition to these holidays, students and scholars will take the opportunity to learn about the holidays of other religions and cultures, and of course, teach others about their own!

Holidays in 2017:

New Year’s Day (January 01)
The celebration, marking the first day of the New Year, occurs at midnight on December 31st with a grand party, a lot of noise, and toasts.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 16)
Celebrate the birthday of this civil rights leader on the third Monday in January.

Presidents’ Day (February 20)
Observed on the third Monday in February, this holiday honors the birthdays of the first U.S. president, George Washington (February 22) and President Abraham Lincoln (February 12).

Cesar Chavez Day (March 31)
A California state holiday to honor the labor activism of Cesar Chavez on behalf of farm workers.

Memorial Day (May 29)
Commemorates U.S. soldiers who have died in wars. It is customary to decorate their graves with flowers or flags on this day.

Independence Day (July 04)
A day of parades, picnics, and fireworks, celebrating the signing of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Labor Day (September 04)
Celebrated on the first Monday in September honoring the importance of labor organizations in America.

Veteran’s Day (November 11)
“Armistice Day” marking the treaty date ending World War I. This holiday honors veterans of all wars with parades and speeches.

Thanksgiving Day (November 23)
Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November with a huge traditional dinner consisting of a roasted stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin pie. The custom dates back to the pilgrims in 1621 that gave thanks for a bountiful harvest and the Native Americans who taught them agricultural cultivation.

Christmas (December 25)
A joyful holiday of gift-giving, family reunions, Santa Claus, feasting, and decorated Christmas trees based on a Christian tradition.