List of Holidays and Celebrations in the USA

Updated on October 25, 2019
Holiday Girl profile image

I love celebrations because they bring family, friends, and neighbors together and remind us that life should be fun.

Many holidays are celebrated each month of the year in the US.
Many holidays are celebrated each month of the year in the US. | Source

Many Americans spend holidays with their friends and family, enjoying food, parades, and games (both televised and otherwise). Though this country is still less than 250 years old, they have made up for their youth with an assortment of holidays that they love to celebrate.

American Holidays

January–April
May–August
September–December
New Year's Day
Nurses Day
Labor Day
Inauguration Day
National Day of Prayer
Grandparent's Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Mother's Day
Citizenship Day
Groundhog Day
Armed Forces Day
National Children's Day
Super Bowl Sunday
Juneteenth
Columbus Day
Valentine's Day
Father's Day
Boss's Day
President's Day
Memorial Day
Sweetest Day
St. Patrick's Day
Independence Day
Mother-in-Law's Day
April Fool's Day
Parent's Day
Navy Day
Easter
Friendship Day
Halloween
Earth Day
Veterans Day
Administrative Professionals' Day
Thanksgiving
Hanukkah
Christmas
Kwanzaa

New Year's Eve and Day

Date: December 31 and January 1

Americans celebrate New Year's Day just as many other countries do, though they do have a few customs that are their own.

At midnight between December 31 and January 1, many Americans flood the area of Times Square, Manhattan, New York to "watch the ball drop." This special ball is made of crystal and electric lights. It hangs on a pole that is 77 feet (23 meters) high until 11:59 PM on December 31, when it slowly begins to descend the pole until exactly midnight. Many other towns have their own version of the ball-drop, but most Americans who watch it do so on television, as it has been televised for many years. The tradition began in 1907.

Many Americans also watch the Rose Bowl, an American football game held in Pasadena, California. This Bowl pits two college teams together and is the highest attended college football game every year.

Though New Year's Day is a popular holiday, many people may still have to work, and many more will return to work on January 2. Schools, banks, and federal institutions are usually closed.

Inauguration Day

Date: January 20

Inauguration Day only occurs once every four years when the new or current president is inaugurated into office. This day will only change if it happens to fall on a Sunday. In those cases, the following Monday is Inauguration Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the famous activist's birthday.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the famous activist's birthday. | Source

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Date: Third Monday of January

On the third Monday of January, Americans remember the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr. and his fight for civil rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) was a Baptist minister who was a leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement. He believed in advancing civil rights in a non-violent manner and received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts.

Unfortunately, he was assassinated, and many riots broke out because of his violent death. His "I have a dream" speech is well-known and well-loved among many.

Groundhog Day

Date: February 2

Groundhog Day is a holiday on which a groundhog is said to come out of his hole in the ground to decide when spring will begin. If he is frightened by his shadow, he will retreat into his hole, and there will be six more weeks of winter.

The Super Bowl is the most important American football event of the year.
The Super Bowl is the most important American football event of the year. | Source

Super Bowl Sunday

Date: First Sunday in February

On this day, Americans gather to watch the Super Bowl, the championship of professional American football. Many others watch the game to enjoy the commercials as many companies vie to have the wittiest commercial.

Sweets and flowers are common Valentine's Day gifts.
Sweets and flowers are common Valentine's Day gifts. | Source

Valentine's Day

Date: February 14

Valentine's Day in America is celebrated with the giving of flowers and chocolates. It is considered a romantic holiday. Many children in school create (or purchase) Valentines for each other. The symbol of Valentine's Day is typically a heart.

Presidents' Day
Presidents' Day | Source

Presidents' Day

Date: Third Monday in February

On the third Monday of February, Americans celebrate Presidents' Day in honor of the first president, George Washington's birthday (born on February 22, 1732). It is typically remembered in schools, but not overly celebrated.

St. Patrick's Day

Date: March 17

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, many people dress in green and pinch those who don't. Others go to Irish pubs to drink beer. Interestingly, many (if not most) Americans celebrate the day, but don't know much about the man for which the day is celebrated.

Easter

Date: Varies Based on Moon and Spring Equinox

In celebration of Easter, many families in the United States go to church in honor of the day Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Those who don't go to church (and even those who do) also celebrate by coloring eggs, having Easter egg hunts, and celebrating the Easter bunny (who hides baskets of treats for children).

April Fool's Day

Date: April 1

Americans tend to celebrate April Fool's Day by playing tricks and pranks on each other and then declaring "April Fools!" Pranks can range from simple to elaborate, and many companies join the fun by advertising fake products or services for the day.

Earth Day

Date: April 22

Earth Day is when Americans celebrate the earth and oceans. On this day, many communities, businesses, and schools will work together to do community service by cleaning their neighborhoods, roads, and parks of debris. It is also a good day to remember the importance of recycling.

Administrative Professionals' Day (Secretaries' Day)

Date: Wednesday of the Last Full Week of April

This is the day that many administrators show appreciation to those who make their lives easier at the office by giving gifts to their assistants.

Nurses Day is a day to appreciate the hard work of these healthcare professionals.
Nurses Day is a day to appreciate the hard work of these healthcare professionals. | Source

Nurses Day

Date: May 6

A day to thank nurses for their hard work in doctors' offices and hospitals. Unfortunately, this day isn't celebrated nearly enough, and nurses often go without thanks for their work.

National Day of Prayer

Date: First Thursday in May

On this day, many people gather together to pray for their country, family, or themselves.

Breakfast in bed can be a sweet way to celebrate a mom's special day.
Breakfast in bed can be a sweet way to celebrate a mom's special day. | Source

Mother's Day

Date: Second Sunday in May

Mother's Day is a day set aside to celebrate those who raised or gave birth to us. Though traditions will vary from family to family, many Americans give their mothers chocolates, flowers, and jewelry or take her out to lunch. Others may make her breakfast and serve it to her while she is still in her bed.

Armed Forces Day

Date: Third Saturday in May

Armed Forces Day is for remembrance and honor of both living and dead soldiers of the armed forces.

Juneteenth (Liberation of Slaves)

Date: June 19

Juneteenth is a state holiday that is recognized by 32 of the 50 states. It celebrates when the African American slaves were set free. It's also known as Emancipation Day.

Father's Day

Date: Third Sunday in June

This day is set aside to celebrate fathers. As with Mother's Day, traditions will vary from family to family, but many people choose to celebrate by having a barbecue dinner and possibly playing some sort of sport in the park.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day | Source

Memorial Day

Date: Last Monday of May

Though Memorial Day is set aside to remember ancestors—especially those who have fallen in battle—most Americans seem to equate the day to beaches, barbecues, and the first "three-day weekend" of summer.

That being said, most cities and towns do have ceremonies (many of which are held in cemeteries) within their town to celebrate those who have fallen in battle. Families who have lost someone dear to them (especially if they were lost recently) may go to the cemetery to "spend time" with their loved one, while others who haven't felt the sting of death may visit to pay respects to unknown fallen soldiers.

Independence Day commemorates the United States first declaring itself an independent nation on July 4, 1776.
Independence Day commemorates the United States first declaring itself an independent nation on July 4, 1776. | Source

Independence Day

Date: July 4

On this day, Americans celebrate the day they became an independent nation. on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the United States independent of Britain with the Declaration of Independence. Many go to parades and watch fireworks at night. Some communities also hold picnics and other festivities for the locals to attend. Many families will eat hamburgers, hot dogs, or other grilled food in celebration.

Parents' Day

Dare: Fourth Sunday in July

Parents' Day is a time to celebrate the hard work and love of parents. Unlike Mother's Day or Father's Day, this holiday is for all parents.

Friendship Day

Date: First Sunday in August

On this day, people spend time with someone important in their life who they would like to honor as a good friend.

Labor Day

Date: First Monday in September

Most Americans celebrate this holiday to mark the end of summer, as opposed to for political or historical reasons.

Don't grandparents deserve their own holiday, too?
Don't grandparents deserve their own holiday, too? | Source

Grandparents Day

Date: Sunday After Labor Day

Parents get Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Parent's Day. This holiday is dedicated to the grandparents in your life. Many families gather together to have picnics or dinners.

Citizenship Day - the Melting Pot
Citizenship Day - the Melting Pot

Citizenship Day (Constitution Day)

Date: September 17

Citizenship Day marks the anniversary of when the US Constitution was first ratified. On this date in 1787, delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution.

National Children's Day

Date: Second Sunday in October

If parents get a holiday, why shouldn't children, too? Though not as popular as Mother's Day or Father's Day, Children's Day is a holiday for celebrating the kids.

Columbus Day

Date: Second Monday in October

Columbus Day marks the anniversary of the day that Christopher Columbus "discovered" North America in 1492. On this day, some Americans choose to celebrate a different holiday, Indigenous People's Day, instead.

Boss's Day

Date: October 16

On Boss's Day, some employees show appreciation to their bosses by giving them small gifts.

Sweetest Day

Date: Third Saturday in October

This is simply a day for spreading joy and happiness to those who are in need.

Mother-in-Law's Day

Date: October 26

Much like Mother's Day, this is a day dedicated to celebrating a special mom in your life—but this time it's your spouse's mother, not your own.

Navy Day

Date: October 27

This holiday celebrates the honor and achievements of the United States Navy.

Pumpkins are used to carve jack-o'-lanterns during the Halloween season.
Pumpkins are used to carve jack-o'-lanterns during the Halloween season. | Source

Halloween

Date: October 31

Halloween is often celebrated by children dressing up as fantasy characters and going door-to-door to ask for candy by saying "trick or treat." In more recent years, many communities will have a select location for children to go to collect candy from stores, churches, or other businesses.

Depending on the community, families may attend hay mazes, haunted houses, or other events to celebrate the holiday. Families also often hold Halloween parties in their homes.

Decorations for Halloween include fake spider webs, fake tombstones, and jack-o'-lanterns (a face carved into a pumpkin). People who don't celebrate "Halloween" will sometimes celebrate a "Harvest Day" or a similar event.

Veterans Day
Veterans Day | Source

Veterans Day

Date: November 11

Veterans Day honors those who have served in the war, either alive or dead. Though many businesses remain open for this day, most federal buildings, schools, and banks are closed.

For many Americans, turkey is part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
For many Americans, turkey is part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. | Source

Thanksgiving

Date: Fourth Thursday in November

Thanksgiving is a day for remembrance and thankfulness, in commemoration of the harvest and of pilgrims' first feast with the Native Americans. Many Americans get together with their families for a large meal (typically a turkey dinner) and recite things for which they are thankful.

The menorah and dreidel are traditional Hanukkah objects.
The menorah and dreidel are traditional Hanukkah objects. | Source

Hanukkah

Date: Varies Depending on the Hebrew Calendar

Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. It is an eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the temple in the second century BC. The holiday is celebrated by lighting candles on a unique nine-branched candelabrum called a menorah or hanukkiah. Children also often play with a dreidel in a fun and unique game.

Decorating an evergreen tree at home is a classic Christmas Eve activity.
Decorating an evergreen tree at home is a classic Christmas Eve activity. | Source

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Date: December 24 and 25

Many Americans go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. They also celebrate Christmas by opening presents that are placed under a Christmas tree on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (the legend says Santa Claus is the man who puts the gifts under the tree). Many families also spend a lot of time and energy decorating their houses, both inside and out; and many communities even have competitions for the best-decorated house.

Kwanzaa

Date: December 26–31

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration to celebrate the culture of African Americans and that of their ancestors. The holiday was created to help African Americans reconnect with their African heritage. The celebration typically ends with a feast and the exchange of gifts amongst friends and family.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Charlotte 

        10 days ago

        I was looking for the celebration people celebrate in the usa for a project I am doing for school cuz I am in 4th grade and all it showed me was things celebrated in florida and I was looking for thing celebrated in places other than florida this website is super bad do not search this!!!

      • profile image

        john 

        3 months ago

        its bad I asked for traditions

      • profile image

        A_PERSON_1_2_3_ 

        7 months ago

        This is only a list of holidays commonly celebrated by Americans not holidays sometimes celebrated by Americans.

      • profile image

        Anthony 

        8 months ago

        You guys are fools ! Cinco de Mayo is with in the 5 top. There are about 40 million Mexican Americans (60 million Latinos ) No! It’s not a big Mexican( country ) thing . It’s a Celebration that Americans like to be a part of.

      • profile image

        wyatt 

        9 months ago

        thank you for the info

      • profile image

        lia 

        11 months ago

        thanks so much for the informations

      • profile image

        Abi 

        12 months ago

        That,s great

      • profile image

        Twilight Sparkle 

        12 months ago

        Woah! Some of these celebrations are what I never heard of.

      • profile image

        reza 

        17 months ago

        thank's for your information.

      • profile image

        KNEEGROW 

        18 months ago

        thanks

      • profile image

        dead pool 

        21 months ago

        Thanks .

      • profile image

        you 

        21 months ago

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Layne 

        22 months ago

        Wow, I didn't know America had so many Holidays!!!

      • profile image

        Unknown 

        3 years ago

        Thanks it helped a lot but some I don't know

      • profile image

        prince 

        3 years ago

        i think Americans are full of imagination and that is why they have all these holidays.

      • profile image

        Thanks 

        4 years ago

        Thanks to everyone

      • Holiday Girl profile imageAUTHOR

        Holiday Girl 

        4 years ago

        Amari, I didn't know about National High Five Day, but I still didn't add it because it is a very obscure holiday. If I added all of the very obscure holidays, this list would be too long. I am going to (hopefully) start writing about the obscure holidays for each day starting next year. It will be an extensive project, but I will be sure to write about it on April 16 for sure :)

      • Holiday Girl profile imageAUTHOR

        Holiday Girl 

        4 years ago

        Thanks for catching that I missed Easter (and that's my favorite holiday too!) I'm not sure why I forgot it. I will add it now.

      • profile image

        Roy 

        5 years ago

        Easter weekend should be a holiday also, why not.

      • profile image

        daniel 

        5 years ago

        cool Americans celebrations guys they sound cool

      • profile image

        Amari 

        5 years ago

        They forgot National High Five Day!

        If you don't believe me, look it up- it's real

        :D

      • profile image

        join 

        5 years ago

        hi I like you

      • profile image

        Dae 

        6 years ago

        You forgot Easter….

      • profile image

        Janelle 

        6 years ago

        Thank YAH! :)

      • profile image

        jane 

        7 years ago

        thanks

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