USA does not have any national holidays. Each of the 50 states defines its own holidays, some of them might seem new and unusual. In practice, however, most states observe federal holidays. The following ten holidays per year are proclaimed by the federal government: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day (Washington's Birthday), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. Banks, federal government offices, post office, and some stores and restaurants are closed on federal holidays.

The celebration of one of the most favorite holidays, New Year Eve, actually begins on December 31. The song, "Auld Lang Syne" is North America's traditional musical accompaniment to the passing of the old year. This holiday gets a loud celebration in America. Fireworks, champagne corks, sirens and honking honks - all this you can hear exactly at midnight, after all the bells have rung. Time Square in New York is one of the main attributes of New Year in the USA. Many foreigners gather there, while Americans prefer to celebrate this holiday at home.

Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January. It's a United States federal holiday honoring the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King's input into the fight against injustice is undeniable. In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in America. At age 35, Martin Luther King, Jr., became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Presidents' Day is a day when Americans honor the legacies of the U.S. Presidents. Presidents' Day, celebrated on the third Monday of February, is the common name for the federal holiday officially designated as Washington's Birthday. At school children hace President's Day lesson. Nowadays this holiday is also known as "Holiday sale".

Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day was formally known as Decoration Day. Memorial Day officially became a federal holiday in 1971. New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873. Special ceremonies are held in cemeteries, churches, and other public meeting places on that day.

Independence Day is regarded as the birthday of the United States as a free and independent nation. It's one of the most popular non-religious national holidays in the U.S. Most Americans simply call it the "Fourth of July". The official holiday's history says that on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress was meeting in Philadelphia. The delegates of Continental Congress signed the declaration (The Declaration of Independence), that unified the colonies in North America who declared themselves independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain. For the first time in an official document the colonies were referred to as the United States of America. Nowadays, Independence Day is full of fireworks, parades, and picnics.

Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. The Noble Order of the Knights of Labour was founded in the United States in 1869. It first initiated a Labor Day celebration. The holiday was first celebrated in New York, in 1887. Oregon, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey were the first states to make Labor Day a holiday in 1887. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. Also, Labour Day in the USA is an additional day off, when most companies and almost all public institutions do not work. Most Americans strive to make full use of this weekend holiday.

Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in the United States. On Columbus day Americans celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of their country with special church services and other activities. On October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus, Spanish navigator, reached the island of San Salvador in the Bahamian archipelago. That day became the official date of the discovery of America. On Columbus Day the flag of the United States is displayed on Government buildings. Government offices and schools are generally closed, but businesses may be open. Columbus day is a public holiday in many parts of the United states, but is not observed or is not a holiday in some states (California, Nevada and Hawaii). This holiday is controversial because the European settlement in the Americas led to the demise of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples.

Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all American veterans, both living and dead. In the USA, this holiday is celebrated on November 11. The holiday dates back to November 11, 1918 when a treaty was signed between the Allied Forces and Germany, unofficially ending World War I. 20 million people died in this war, including 113 000 U.S. Soldiers. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. The Veterans Day National Ceremony is always held in Washington on Veterans Day.

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. It's one of America's favorite holidays, first, because it's truly American holiday, and second, because it's a family holiday: it is traditional for all family members to go to church service and then gather around the holiday table. Turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving meal. When the holiday was celebrated for first time colonists and Native Americans cooked and ate together four turkeys. Since that time, turkey has become synonymous with Thanksgivings Day. On the eve of holiday charitable organization collect and distribute gifts to those in need, and organize dinners for the homeless. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks to God for freedom and other blessings. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.

Christmas Day on December 25 is one of the most important holidays in the USA. Christmas is a happy family holiday. Usually Americans celebrate Christmas for a couple of days. All family members exchange gifts. People sent elegant Christmas greeting cards to their friends and relatives. Children wait for Santa Claus who brings them presents. People decorate their homes and gardens with lights, Santa Claus, angels and other Christmas figures. People put Christmas tree in the largest room of their house and decorate it with toys and candles. The celebration of Christmas begins on the evening of December 24. Traditional Christmas turkey or honker, ham, salads, and different beverages are the best choice for Christmas dinner. In the 25th of December, in the morning, after " the night visit of Santa Claus", everybody discover their presents. Children sing traditional Christmas songs, glorifying God and birth of his son Jesus Christ. In the United State, Christmas is a federal holiday, nobody works that day. People begin to prepare for this holiday beforehand and strive to provide themselves with all the necessary stuff.

It is impossible to forget that Christmas is a large commercial event. On the eve of Christmas, shops begin to decorate their shop windows and fill them up with Christmas merchandise that will satisfy even the most demanding shoppers. There are a number of national holidays in the United States, Christmas is the most popular and most widely celebrated among them.

 

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