Every month of the year has something special to celebrate in the U. S. Throughout the years, the U. S. Congress has passed laws declaring special days as official observances known as federal holidays. Each federal holiday represents a day when federal employees and many other workers have a paid day off from their jobs. There are some holidays we celebrate that are not federal holidays but are very popular holidays to celebrate.
The first day of January is New Year’s Day. This federal holiday celebrates the beginning of each New Year. People in the U. S. sometimes spend this day watching college football games and parades. On the third Monday in January, we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday. Martin Luther King, Jr. worked to change laws so that all people in the U. S. would be treated fairly. He worked for change in the 1950s and 60s when many states had laws separating black and white people. Martin Luther King taught people to use peaceful demonstrations to change laws, instead of violence. Many laws were changed because of his work. Many people worked with him in the hope that the U. S. could be a fair country for all people.
In January or February many people in the U. S. celebrate the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year falls between January 10th and February 19th. The date changes because it is from a calendar based on the moon, not the sun. On this day, many families clean their homes of all the “old” and get ready for the New Year. They wear new clothes and share delicious food. They give each other red envelopes with money for good luck in the coming year. They also light firecrackers to chase away bad luck.
February 14th is Saint Valentine’s Day. Saint Valentine’s Day began in Europe and has been celebrated for hundreds of years. In the U. S. today, we remember friends and sweethearts with cards called valentines, flowers, chocolates
or small gifts. We celebrate Presidents’ Day on the 3rd Monday of February as a federal holiday commemorating the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.. We call George Washington “the father of our country” because he was the American general in the Revolutionary War who led us to victory against England. He was elected our first president. Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president. He kept our country together during the Civil War when the Southern states wanted to form a separate country. Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.
March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday comes from Ireland. People wear 3-leaf shamrocks because St. Patrick used them to explain the Christian Trinity. Many people celebrate this holiday by wearing shamrocks or green clothing in honor of St. Patrick. Some people even drink green beer!
Holidays in the spring are celebrations of the rebirth of life. Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrated between March 13th and April 11th. Easter is a Christian holiday that is celebrated on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the U. S., people attend religious services and family gatherings like picnics. They hide colored eggs for children to find. Many children wake up to baskets filled with candy that the “Easter Bunny” has left for them.
Mother’s Day is observed in the United States in honor of mothers on the second Sunday in May. Julia Ward Howe wrote a Mother’s Day proclamation in 1870.