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
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|Holiday||Date||Reason||Associated Traditions||People Celebrating||Associated Symbols||Image of Associated Symbols|
|New Year's Eve/New Year's Day||December 31-January 1||Likely 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 Resolutions||Clinking champagne glasses, fireworks, clock, the color gold|
|Martin Luther King, Jr.||The third Monday in January||Celebrates the inspirational life of Martin Luther King, Jr., and what his work meant for equality in America.||Day of Service, Civil Rights education||Clasped hands, peace sign, dove|
|Valentine's Day||14-Feb||Named 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 Night||Cupids, heart (often pierced with an arrow) rose, the colors red and pink|
|Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday||The 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 Carnival||The colors green, gold, and purple, masks, fleur de lis, crown|
|St. Patrick's Day||17-Mar||Held 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, Parades||Shamrock, pot of gold, leprechauns, the color green|
|Easter||The first Sunday following the full moon after March 21||The celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ. Also celebrated in non-religious circles.||Egg Hunt, Dying Eggs, Visiting the Easter Bunny, Sunrise Service||Cross, egg, rabbits, chicks|
|Mother's Day||The second Sunday in May||A celebration of motherhood.||Giving a gift or flowers to your mother, greeting cards||Red carnation, other flowers|
|Memorial Day||The last Monday of May||A 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 noon||American flag, grave stones, red poppy|
|Father's Day||The third Sunday in June||A celebration of fatherhood.||Giving a gift to your father, greeting cards||Tie, mustache, baseball|
|Independence Day (Fourth of July)||4-Jul||Commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.||Fireworks, barbecues, parades||American flag, Bald Eagle, the colors red, white, and blue|
|Labor Day||The first Monday of September||Began 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, picnics||Fist, hand holding a tool|
|Columbus Day||The second Monday of October||Marks 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 work||Ships, red cross|
|Halloween||31-Oct||It 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 Festivals||Jack-o-Lantern, monsters, bats|
|Veterans Day||11-Nov||A day of thanks for living veterans. It is celebrated on the anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of WWI.||Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, parades||American flag, red/white/blue ribbon, red poppy|
|Thanksgiving||The fourth Thursday of November||A 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), Families||Turkey, cornucopia, fall leaves|
|Christmas||25-Dec||A celebration of the birth of Christ. Also celebrated in non-religious circles.||Decorating an Evergreen Tree, Giving Presents, Families, Visiting Santa Claus, Hanging Lights||Nativity, 3 Wise men, Santa Claus, reindeer, Christmas tree, bells, holly, candy cane|