Introduction to Major Holidays in the U.S. & 2023/2024 Holiday Calendar

ES Fil FR KO VI

In the U.S., holidays are set by federal, state, and local governments. Typically, these are designated for government employees or public institutions. For instance, local school districts can decide on holiday schedules for their public schools. In areas with a predominant racial or religious group, the school district might respect their traditions and observe holidays important to that community.

Congress mandates federal holidays, and there are 11 of them. The most recent federal holiday was established on June 17, 2021, when President Biden signed into law the designation of June 19 as “Juneteenth National Independence Day.” This commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. On June 19, 1865, two and a half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union soldiers informed a group of enslaved Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, that they were free.

Non-essential federal departments, including the USPS, observe these holidays. If a federal holiday falls on a Saturday, it’s usually observed on the preceding Friday. If it falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is the observed holiday.

It’s important to note that while the federal government and Congress establish these federal holidays, they don’t have the authority to mandate them for everyone. These federal holidays apply to federal employees. State and local governments, schools, banks, hospitals, businesses, etc., are not bound by these federal holidays and can decide their holiday schedules.

That said, many local governments and businesses often observe some, if not all, federal holidays. For instance, banks typically close on federal holidays because the Federal Reserve is closed, and many banking tasks can’t be performed. Some federal holidays, like New Year’s Day, are celebrated worldwide due to their historical and traditional significance. Besides, communities across the U.S. celebrate many other holidays not recognized as federal holidays.

The 11 U.S. Federal Holidays

Holiday Description
New Year’s Day January 1st celebrates the beginning of the Gregorian calendar year.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day The third Monday of January commemorates the birth of the renowned civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is January 15, 1929.
Presidents’ Day The third Monday of February, also known as “Washington’s Birthday,” honors George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732.
Memorial Day The last Monday of May pays tribute to American soldiers who have died in military service.
Juneteenth June 19th marks the day when slavery officially ended in the U.S.
Independence Day
July 4th celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
Labor Day The first Monday of September honors the American labor movement.
Columbus Day The second Monday of October remembers Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas on October 12, 1492.
Veterans Day November 11th honors military veterans, marking the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.
Thanksgiving Day The fourth Thursday of November is a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest.
Christmas Day December 25th celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

2023/2024 Major U.S. Holiday Calendar

In the table below, green indicates federal holidays. Yellow points to non-federal holidays but are popular or uniquely celebrated across the U.S.

SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
January 2024
1New Year’s Day
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15Martin Luther King Day
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
February 2024
1
2Groundhog Day
3
4Super Bowl Sunday
5
6
7
8
9Lunar New Year’s Eve
10Lunar New Year
11
12
13Mardi Gras
14Valentine’s Day
15
16
17
18
19Presidents’ Day
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
March 2024
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17Saint Patrick’s Day
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Easter Sunday
April 2024
1April Fools’ Day
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22Earth Day
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
May 2024
1
2
3
4
5Cinco de Mayo
6
7
8
9
10
11
12Mother’s Day
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27Memorial Day
28
29
30
31
June 2024
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16Father’s Day
17
18
19Juneteenth
20Summer Solstice
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
July 2024
1
2
3
4Independence Day
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21National Ice Cream Day
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
August 2024
1
2
3
4Friendship Day
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26National Dog Day
27
28
29
30
31
September 2024
1
2Labor Day
3
4
5
6
7
8Grandparents Day
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17Constitution Day; Mid-Autumn Day
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
October 2024
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14Columbus Day
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Halloween
November 2024
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11Veterans Day
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28Thanksgiving Day
29Black Friday
30
December 2024
1
2Cyber Monday
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24Christmas Eve
25Christmas Day
26
27
28
29
30
31New Year’s Eve

Non-federal holidays celebrated by many

Given Americans’ love for celebrations and various religious backgrounds, some holidays, even if they aren’t official like Easter, are observed with days off in many places. Also, some holidays, originally unrelated to the U.S. like Cinco de Mayo (commemorating the Mexican Army’s victory in 1862), gained popularity, especially in states like California. Below are some non-federal holidays that have become popular or have a distinct character in the U.S., along with their dates.

Celebrations Introduction 2023 2024
The First Quarter
Inauguration Day Every four years, on January 20th, federal employees in the D.C. area get the day off for the presidential inauguration. n/a n/a
Groundhog Day Celebrated on February 2, this day revolves around a folklore tradition where a groundhog’s behavior predicts the arrival of spring. 2/2/2023 2/2/2024
Super Bowl Sunday The annual championship game of the NFL, typically held on the first Sunday of February. 2/5/2023 2/4/2024
Valentine’s Day Recognized on February 14, it’s a day for showing love and affection to partners, family, and friends. 2/14/2023 2/14/2024
Mardi Gras Also referred to as Fat Tuesday, it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and has significant celebrations in places like New Orleans. Its date changes yearly, depending on when Easter falls. 2/21/2023 2/13/2024
St. Patrick’s Day Observed on March 17, this day honors Ireland’s patron saint. It’s marked by parades, wearing green, and festive foods. 3/17/2023 3/17/2024
The Second Quarter
Easter Celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, it’s a Christian day marking the resurrection of Jesus. This day concludes Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. 4/9/2023 3/31/2024
April Fools’ Day Observed on April 1, it’s a day known for pranks and jests. 4/1/2023 4/1/2024
Earth Day Celebrated on April 22, this day emphasizes environmental conservation and awareness. 4/22/2023 4/22/2024
Cinco de Mayo Commemorated on May 5, it marks the Mexican Army’s triumph at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It’s often celebrated with parties and parades, especially in the Mexican-American community. 5/5/2023 5/5/2024
Mother’s Day Celebrated on the second Sunday in May, this day pays tribute to mothers and maternal figures. 5/14/2023 5/12/2024
Father’s Day Observed on the third Sunday in June, it’s a day to honor fathers and paternal figures. 6/18/2023 6/16/2024
Summer Solstice The lengthiest day of the year, usually around June 21. It signifies the onset of summer and is celebrated in various ways. 6/21/2023 6/20/2024
The Third Quarter
National Ice Cream Day Enjoyed on the third Sunday of July, this day often sees ice cream promotions and discounts. 7/16/2023 7/21/2024
Friendship Day Though not universally observed, in the U.S., it’s generally recognized on the first Sunday of August. 8/6/2023 8/4/2024
National Dog Day Recognized on August 26, it’s a day to celebrate dogs and promote adoption. 8/26/2023 8/26/2024
The Fourth Quarter
Halloween Observed on October 31, it’s a day filled with costumes, trick-or-treating, and various eerie festivities. 10/31/2023 10/31/2024
Black Friday Occurring the day after Thanksgiving, it’s renowned for shopping bargains and marks the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season. 11/24/2023 11/29/2024
Cyber Monday The Monday after Thanksgiving, it’s distinguished for online shopping deals. 11/27/2023 12/2/2024
Christmas Eve The night before Christmas Day (December 25). Often celebrated with family gatherings, feasting, and midnight church services. 12/24/2023 12/24/2024
New Year’s Eve Observed on December 31, it ushers out the old year and welcomes the new one. Customarily marked with parties, countdowns, and fireworks. 12/31/2023 12/31/2024
Derek Yang

I’m an immigrant living with my family in a small town on the East Coast. I love classical music, enjoy a good cup of coffee, and have a soft spot for BMWs. I believe in lifelong learning and look forward to connecting with you to share our life experiences. Twitter @mrderekyang.

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