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Note: Strictly speaking, the United States has no national holidays since each state designates holidays through the legislative process or by executive order. The United States Congress can legally designate holidays for federal employees and for the District of Columbia. The holidays listed here represent those federal holidays which are also observed by the majority (if not all) of the 50 states. Work schedules may or may not be affected by these holidays.
- New Year’s Day, January 1st.
- Birthday of Martin Luther King, third Monday in January.
- Inauguration Day, January 20th every four years, starting in 1937.
- Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February since 1971; prior to that year, it was celebrated on the traditional date of February 22.
- Inauguration Day, March 4th every four years, pre-1937.
- Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May.
- Memorial Day, last Monday in May since 1971; from 1868 to 1970 it was celebrated on May 30
- Flag Day, June 14th.
- United States of America’s Independence Day, July 4.
- Labor Day, first Monday in September.
- Columbus Day, second Monday in October (federal holiday since 1971).
- Election Day, Tuesday on or after November 2.
- Veterans Day, November 11th (except from 1971 to 1977, inclusive, when it was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October).
- Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November.
- Christmas Day, December 25th. We have finally included this since it is a federal holiday, although it is not based on a secular holiday.
Other Widely Celebrated Observances These usually don’t affect work schedules or tourist attractions.
- Groundhog Day, February 2.
- Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.
- Valentine’s Day, February 14.
- Washington’s Birthday, February 22.
- St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
- Good Friday, varies
- Easter, varies
- April Fools’s Day, April 1.
- Earth Day, April 22 (since 1970; see Earthday.net)
- Administrative Assistants’ Day, which once upon a time was Secretaries’ Day, is the Wednesday of the last full week of April (that is, the Wednesday before the last Saturday in April) since 1955.
- Arbor Day is often the last Friday in April (since 1872), but since planting conditions vary, it may occur from September to May; please consult the National Arbor Day Foundation’s list of Arbor Day Dates.
- Mothers’ Day, second Sunday in May.
- Fathers’ Day, third Sunday in June.
- Parents’ Day, fourth Sunday in July.
- Grandparents’ Day, Sunday after Labor Day.
- Columbus Day (traditional), October 12.
- United Nations Day, October 24.
- Halloween, October 31.
*If you are using these dates for planning a trip, please verify the dates of the various holidays with at least one other source.