USA: Holidays                                                                 

  • The United States does not have national holidays (i.e. days where all employees in the U.S.A. receive a day free from work and all business is suspended).
  • The U.S. Federal government can only recognize national holidays that pertain to its own employees. It is at the discretion of each state or local jurisdiction to determine official holiday schedules.
  • The annual Federal holidays are widely observed by state and local governments; however, they may alter the dates of observance or add or subtract holidays according to local custom.
  • Pursuant to the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968, official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year's Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
  • There are also U.S. state holidays particular to individual state.
  • Most retail businesses close on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but remain open on all other holidays. Private businesses often observe only the "big six" holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Some businesses also add the Friday after Thanksgiving.


Date                                                   Official Name

January 1                                         New Year's Day    

Celebrates the beginning of the calendar year. Festivities include counting down to midnight (12:00 AM) on the preceding night, New Year's Eve. Traditional end of holiday season.

3rd Monday in January                  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Honors the important civil rights leader.

3rd Monday in February              Washington/Presidents’ Day

Many people now refer to this holiday as "Presidents' Day" and consider it a day honoring all American presidents.

Last Monday in May                    Memorial Day

Honors the nation's war deceased from the Civil War onwards. This date marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season.

July 4                                          Independence Day/4th of July

Celebrates the Declaration of Independence with fireworks.

1st Monday in September          Labor Day

Celebrates the achievements of workers and the labor movement; This date marks the unofficial end of the summer season.

2nd Monday in October               Columbus Day

Honors Christopher Columbus, traditional European “discoverer” of the Americas. In some areas, it is also a celebration of Italian culture and heritage. 

4th Thursday in November         Thanksgiving Day

Traditionally celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. Traditionally includes the consumption of a turkey dinner. Traditional start of the holiday season. (Note: Thanksgiving is not celebrated on the same day in Canada). 

December 25                              Christmas

Celebrates the birth of Jesus. Some people consider aspects of this religious holiday, such as giving gifts and decorating a Christmas tree, to be secular rather than explicitly Christian. Christmas is not celebrated by all Americans—especially those of non-Christian faiths.