The biggest holidays in the US

American Holidays

The biggest holidays in the US

A number of American holidays were created to honour a person that meant a lot to the nation. And it goes without saying that the president has his own celebratory day as well. In this article, we have listed the most significant American holidays for you.

Independence Day (4th of July)
Independence Day, or 4th of July, is a national holiday that commemorates the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration was signed on July 4th, 1776, and declared the independence of the United States of America from the kingdom of Great Britain. All across the nation, parades are held on the 4th of July, and the day is always ended by organised fireworks. It is also a holiday where a lot of attention is given to the history of the US.

Another popular activity on Independence Day is having a barbecue or picknick, which is a great way to start the summer of course.

Thanksgiving en Black Friday
One of the most important holidays of the year for Americans is undoubtedly Thanksgiving. celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. People travel from afar to spend this day with their loved ones. Thanksgiving was created to give thanks for the harvest and other good things that had happened that past year.

Thanksgiving is a day of traditions, so it should come as no surprise that the menu is very traditional as well. By far the most popular dish is a turkey from the oven (met Stove Top), Some common side dishes are mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans and cranberry sauce. Pecan and pumpkin pie vormen meestal het nagerecht.

Because Thanksgiving is celebrated on a Thursday, most employees get the Friday off, giving them four days to have a warm family reunion. But, the Friday after Thanksgiving is not just any ordinary day. In the US (and nowadays many other countries too), it is Black Friday. It rings in the start of Christmas shopping season, and many stores offer huge discounts on this day. Stores and malls will have masses of people waiting in front of them, hours before they open.

Halloween
On October 31st, the scariest day of the year is celebrated in America. After the sun has set, children take over the streets and go from door to door to ‘trick or treat’. The children (but the adults too) are dressed in costumes and carry bags to collect their treats. In other words, the resident in question can choose between handing over a sweet, or having a trick played with them. Most houses will have a bowl of sweets ready to hand out to the little ones. Another big thing to do with Halloween, is decorate the house and sometimes even the yard. People do this with pumpkins and lights. For the teens, there are plenty of Halloween parties to choose from.

X-mas
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are celebrated with family, just like Thanksgiving. In the US, Americans enthusiastically live towards Christmas. It is general knowledge that Americans like to decorate their homes for holidays, but they really push the limit when it comes to Christmas. It’s not unusual for an entire house (inside and out) to be decorated with eyecatching lights.

Just as we do, Americans buy a Christmas tree for in their house. These look similar to the trees we decorate. The trees are usually lavishly decorated with lots of lights and a star on top. The official Christmas season starts, when the tree in Washington DC is lit. This signals the start to a series of festivities called the ‘Pageant of Peace’.

Veterans Day
America’s history is full of wars, in which many soldiers died for their country. Every year, on November 11th, veterans are honoured for their commitment to their country. On Veterans Day, the end of the First World War is also commemorated.

Fun fact: up to 1954, Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day.

Presidents Day
The President of the United States represents one of the most powerful nations in the world. For Americans, it is only natural that this powerful man has his own holiday. President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday in February, and was originally meant to celebrate the birthday of America’s first president, George Washington. The holiday has different names throughout the nation. It is often referred to as Washington’s Birthday, Washington or Lincoln Day, as well as George Washington Day. During this day, various festivities take place that honour the president. It is also a day where the American stock exchange takes a day off: no trade done on Wall Street that day.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a day where all the fallen American soldiers are commemorated. It is generally thought that this first took place in 1868. Around that time, it was known as Decoration Day. It was called that, because traditionally, the graves of the soldiers were decorated with flowers. Memorial Day is a sober holiday, when Americans visit one of the National cemeteries where the fallen soldiers are buried. Aside from flowers, the graves are also decorated with a little American flag these days. Also on Memorial Day, the national memorial is held at Arlington National Cemetery. This is near the American capital of Washington DC. The American flag is flown half-mast from sunrise to noon on this day.