Federal law establishes the following public holidays for federal employees. If the holiday falls during the weekend, it may be observed on a different day. Many government offices are closed on federal holidays and some private businesses may close as well. If you plan to visit a government office on or around a federal holiday, you should contact them to determine when they will be open. For information on specific holidays click Here
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is January 1. The celebration of this holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. Many Americans make New Year’s resolutions. See the New Year’s resolutions that are popular every year.
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January. The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was an African-American clergyman who is recognized for his tireless efforts to win civil rights for all people through nonviolent means.
Washington’s Birthday is observed on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is commonly called Presidents’ Day and many groups honor the legacy of past presidents on this date.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It originally honored the people killed in the American Civil War but has become a day on which the American dead of all wars are remembered.
Independence Day is July 4. This holiday honors the nation’s birthday – the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts, and fireworks.
Labor Day is the first Monday of September. This holiday honors the nation’s working people, typically with parades. For most Americans, it marks the end of the summer vacation season and the start of the school year.
Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11. This holiday was originally called Armistice Day and was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I. It now honors veterans of all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans’ organizations hold parades, and the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition and almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.
Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25. Christmas is a Christian holiday marking the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become holiday traditions even for many non-Christian Americans.