Most important public holidays in The United States

public holidays usa

Planning a trip to the United States can be daunting. The country is vast and there is a wealth of things to see and do. It is more or less impossible to fit everything in that you’d love to do but that doesn’t stop you from trying to pack as much as you can.

Some of the most visited tourist attractions include Las Vegas and Times Square and the best national parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon continue to attract visitors from around the globe.

However, there is nothing quite like experiencing the major holidays and festivals in the USA. When you’re making your preparations, it is definitely worth having a look at the US holiday calendar to see if you can squeeze one in. It is also worth knowing when the shops will be closed.

There are 10 federal holidays in the US. However, each state has the power to decide if the holiday is observed or not, and to create extra state holidays in the US. Some are only observed by singular states.

Other famous holidays, such as Halloween, Easter and Valentine’s Day, are not observed by days off work but are celebrated nonetheless. Here is a list of the ten most important federal public holidays in the United States.

List of national Holidays in the USA

  • New Year’s Day (1st January)
  • Martin Luther King’s Day (3rd Monday of January)
  • President’s Day (3 Monday of February)
  • Memorial Day (Final Monday of May)
  • Independence Day: (July 4th)
  • Labor Day: (First Monday of September)
  • Columbus Day: (Second Monday of October)
  • Veterans Day: (November 11th)
  • Thanksgiving: (Final Thursday of November)
  • Christmas: (December 25th)

In general, US national holidays are days off for most people. Government offices are closed, as are many stores, restaurants and other places of work. Nevertheless, many shops and places of leisure continue to function.

As you can see, many of the USA holidays fall on a Monday giving Americans the chance to go on weekend trips to family theme parks and other popular attractions.

If you are planning to visit the US at any of these times you can also participate in the American food festivals which are held during these long weekends.

Festivities in the US

All of the public holidays in the United States are important in one way or another. However, some of them are serious occasions and do not include festivities. For example, Memorial Day is for paying respects to people who died while serving in the US military.

Here is a list of celebrations which do include festivities which visitors to the US can get involved in (including those which are not official public holidays):

  • Easter (Between March 22nd and April 25th): Colorful Easter Parades, where people dress up in special outfits are common nationwide. There are typical games for children including Easter egg hunts too. In New Orleans, there is an annual Easter carnival called ‘Mardi Gras’, which features a lot of fun activities where jazz features heavily.
  • Thanksgiving (Final Thursday of November): It originated as a harvest festival.the Thanksgiving dinner, traditionally featuring turkey, playing a central role in the celebration of Thanksgiving. People give thanks. there are also parades in the big cities, which include themed floats.
  • Halloween (October 31st): Halloween is a big deal in the USA. Children dress up as all kinds of monsters, ghosts, and ghastly creatures! They knock on peoples’ doors and play ‘Trick or Treat’. There are celebrations in every town, and they are not only popular with children, adults dress up and go to ‘block parties’.
  • Christmas: (December 25th): A magical time of the year in the US. Christmas season gets into swing from the start of December. The shops, bars, restaurants, and house are all decorated and lit up. You can hear Christmas music and enjoy endless Christmas treats. The day itself is normally a family-affair, spent at home. But there are countless public events either side of Christmas Day.
  • New Year’s Eve (December 31st): A night to party and to celebrate the end of another year, and the beginning of a new one. People throw parties and the bars are full. The pinnacle of the occasion comes with the countdown to midnight.

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