Most retail businesses close on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but remain open on all other holidays. Private businesses often observe only the "big six" holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas). Some also add the Friday after Thanksgiving, or one or more of the other federal holidays.
||New Year's Day
||Celebrates beginning of the Gregorian calendar year. Festivities include counting down to midnight (12:00 AM) on the preceding night, New Year's Eve. Traditional end of holiday season.
|Third Monday in January
||Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
||Honors Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader, who was actually born on January 15, 1929; combined with other holidays in several states.
|January 20, the first January 20 following a Presidential election
||Observed only by federal government employees in Washington D.C., and the border counties of Maryland and Virginia, in order to relieve congestion that occurs with this major event. Swearing-in of President of the United States and Vice President of the United States. Celebrated every fourth year. Note: Takes place on January 21 if the 20th is a Sunday (although the President is still privately inaugurated on the 20th). If Inauguration Day falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday is not a Federal Holiday.
|Third Monday in February
||Washington's Birthday was first declared a federal holiday by an 1879 act of Congress. The Uniform Holidays Act, 1968, shifted the date of the commemoration of Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February (between February 15 and 21, meaning the observed holiday never actually falls on Washington's actual birthday). Because of this, many people now refer to this holiday as "Presidents' Day" and consider it a day honoring all American presidents. However, neither the Uniform Holidays Act nor any subsequent law changed the name of the holiday from Washington's Birthday to Presidents' Day.
|Last Monday in May
||Honors the nation's war dead from the Civil War onwards; marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season. (traditionally May 30, shifted by the Uniform Holidays Act 1968)
||Celebrates Declaration of Independence, also called the Fourth of July.
|First Monday in September
||Celebrates the achievements of workers and the labor movement; marks the unofficial end of the summer season.
|Second Monday in October
||Honors Christopher Columbus, traditional discoverer of the Americas. In some areas it is also a celebration of Italian culture and heritage. (traditionally October 12)
||Honors all veterans of the United States armed forces. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918 (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice).
|Fourth Thursday in November
||Traditionally celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest. Traditionally includes the consumption of a turkey dinner. Traditional start of the holiday season.
||Celebrates the birth of Jesus.
In addition to the official holidays, many religious, ethnic, and other traditional holidays populate the calendar, as well as observances proclaimed by officials and lighter celebrations. These are rarely observed by businesses as holidays; indeed, many are viewed as opportunities for commercial promotion. Because of this commercialization, some critics apply the deprecatory term Hallmark holiday to such days, after the Hallmark greeting card company.
|February or March, date varies
||Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday
||A festive season (Carnival) leading up to Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Closes with Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays), which starts the season of Lent in the Christian calendar.
|Usually First Sunday in February
||Super Bowl Sunday
||The day of the National Football League's championship, the Super Bowl, which is the top prize in the sport of American football. Festivities generally include in-home parties and watching the game on television with beverages and snacks.
||The day on which the behavior of a groundhog emerging from its burrow is said to predict the onset of Spring.
||Traditional celebration of love and romance, including the exchange of cards, candy, flowers, and other gifts.
||Saint Patrick's Day
||A celebration of Irish heritage and culture, based on the Catholic feast of Saint Patrick. Primary activity is simply the wearing of green clothing ("wearing o' the green"), although drinking beer dyed green is also popular. Attending St. Patrick's Day parades has historically been more popular in the United States than in Ireland.
||April Fools' Day
||A day to play tricks on family, friends, and coworkers, if so inclined. This day used to be the start of the New Year. The tradition started when New Year's Day was moved from April 1 to January 1.
|late March or April (Date varies) (March 21 for 2008)
||Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate, believed by Christians to have taken place (traditionally) on April 1, AD 33. Sometimes celebrated as a "Spring holiday" for Universities and schools in certain states. Catholics traditionally celebrate by abstaining from meat to honor Christ's death.
|Spring Sunday (date varies), first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon after the vernal equinox
||Celebrates the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy. On the next day, Easter Monday, the President of the United States holds an annual Easter egg roll on the White House lawn for young children. The holiday is also often celebrated as a nonsectarian spring holiday. Not generally observed by most businesses as it always falls on a Sunday. Most financial markets and some other businesses close on the Friday prior, Good Friday (which is a state holiday in many states). Roman Catholic and Protestant groups celebrate Easter on a different Sunday (most years) than Orthodox groups.
|April 22 (varies by location and observance)
||A day used to promote environmentalism.
|Spring, date varies
||A day for the planting of trees, commonly the last Friday of April but depending on the climate of the state.
||Cinco de Mayo
||Primarily a celebration of Mexican culture by Mexican-Americans living in the United States. Although this is the anniversary of the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, Cinco de Mayo is far more important in the USA than in México itself, often partially celebrated even among non-Mexican-American. Additionally, this "holiday" is often mistaken by Americans as being Mexican Independence Day, which is actually observed on September 16.
|Second Sunday in May
||Honors mothers and motherhood (made a "Federal Holiday" by Presidential order, although most Federal agencies are already closed on Sundays)
||Commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States.
|Third Sunday in June
||Honors fathers and fatherhood.
||Women's Equality Day
||Celebrates the fight for, and progress towards, equality for women. Established by the United States Congress in 1971 to commemorate two anniversaries: Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ensuring Woman Suffrage in 1920 and a nation-wide demonstration for equal rights, the Women's Strike for Equality, in 1970.
||Discretionary day of remembrance designated in memory of the 2,993 casualties in the September 11, 2001, attacks.
||Commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.
|September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)
||Traditional beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. It is also celebrates the beginning of a new year on the Hebrew calendar.
|September or October (depends on Hebrew calendar)
||Traditional end of and highest of the Jewish High Holidays.
||Leif Erikson Day
||A Holiday to swim, imitate Vikings, to celebrate how Leif Ericson was the first European to step foot on America.
||Celebrates All Hallow's Eve, decorations include jack o'lanterns, costume wearing parties, and candy such as candy corn are also part of the holiday. Kids go trick-or-treating to neighbors who give away candy. Not generally observed by businesses.
|first Tuesday after the first Monday in November
||Observed by the federal and state governments in applicable years; legal holiday in some states.
|December (depends on Hebrew calendar)
||an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC.
||Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
||Day to mourn the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on December 7, 1941
||Day to celebrate the sun, because the winter solstice is the day with the least daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.
||Day before Christmas Day
||Celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Marks the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas. Has become a major event for many retailers due to heightened economic activity.
|December 26 through January 1
||African American holiday celebration created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga
||New Year's Eve
||Final Day of the Gregorian year. Usually accompanied by much celebration.