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American Holidays

A list of the major American holidays. Some holidays are primarily celebrated as religious occasions, some have little or no religious significance at all.
a data set by the_thinker
created July 14, 2017
HolidayDateReasonAssociated TraditionsPeople CelebratingAssociated SymbolsImage of Associated Symbols
New Year's Eve/New Year's DayDecember 31-January 1Likely the descendant of a celebration of Janus (the Roman deity from which January likely gets its name). Americans today celebrate this holiday as a time of new beginnings and an excuse to party.Fireworks, Noisemakers, Watching the Ball Drop (New York), Kiss at Midnight, Making ResolutionsClinking champagne glasses, fireworks, clock, the color gold
Martin Luther King, Jr.The third Monday in JanuaryCelebrates the inspirational life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what his work meant for equality in America.Day of Service, Civil Rights educationClasped hands, peace sign, dove
Valentine's Day14-FebNamed after two saints named Valentine, it's first associations with romantic love were in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Today, it is purely a celebration of romance and love.Sending Valentine Cards, School Parties, Date NightCupids, heart (often pierced with an arrow) rose, the colors red and pink
Mardi Gras/Shrove TuesdayThe Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (47 days before Easter)Traces its roots to the Roman celebration of Lupercalia. As Christianity became prevalent in Rome, the festival became a time of merriment before Lent.Krewes (groups organized for parades or parties), bead throwing, king cake, King of CarnivalThe colors green, gold, and purple, masks, fleur de lis, crown
St. Patrick's Day17-MarHeld on the day St. Patrick is said to have died, this holiday celebrates the life of this patron saint of Ireland. In America, it is celebrated with alcohol and the color green.Wearing Green (on pain of being pinched), Drinking, ParadesShamrock, pot of gold, leprechauns, the color green
EasterThe first Sunday following the full moon after March 21The celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. Also celebrated in non-religious circles.Egg Hunt, Dying Eggs, Visiting the Easter Bunny, Sunrise ServiceCross, egg, rabbits, chicks
Mother's DayThe second Sunday in MayA celebration of motherhood.Giving a gift or flowers to your mother, greeting cardsRed carnation, other flowers
Memorial DayThe last Monday of MayA day of commemoration for the men and women who have died in military service to the United States.Parades, memorial services, flag at half mast until noonAmerican flag, grave stones, red poppy
Father's DayThe third Sunday in JuneA celebration of fatherhood.Giving a gift to your father, greeting cardsTie, mustache, baseball
Independence Day (Fourth of July)4-JulCommemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Fireworks, barbecues, paradesAmerican flag, Bald Eagle, the colors red, white, and blue
Labor DayThe first Monday of SeptemberBegan as a celebration of labor unions, growing out of a parade tradition by the Knights of Labor in the late 19th century. It is now primarily an end of summer celebration.Time off from work, parades, picnicsFist, hand holding a tool
Columbus DayThe second Monday of OctoberMarks the day when Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World in 1492. Although this holiday is controversial for many reasons, it is still a registered federal holiday. Historically celebrated in America as a day of Italian pride.Many students and adults have the day off from school or workShips, red cross
Halloween31-OctIt gets its name from All Hallows' Eve, the evening before All Saint's Day. This holiday likely dates back to a Celtic harvest festival. It is said that on this night, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is the thinnest.Trick-or-Treating, Costumes, Haunted Houses, Hayrides, Harvest FestivalsJack-o-Lantern, monsters, bats
Veterans Day11-NovA day of thanks for living veterans. It is celebrated on the anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of WWI.Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, paradesAmerican flag, red/white/blue ribbon, red poppy
ThanksgivingThe fourth Thursday of NovemberA feast to give thanks for blessings. Originally a harvest feast shared by Native Americans and early Pilgrims, it is now commonly a time for families to come together for a feast.Giant Feast (usually with turkey as the main dish), FamiliesTurkey, cornucopia, fall leaves
Christmas25-DecA celebration of the birth of Christ. Also celebrated in non-religious circles.Decorating an Evergreen Tree, Giving Presents, Families, Visiting Santa Claus, Hanging LightsNativity, 3 Wise men, Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas tree, bells, holly, candy cane
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