Posted by JWmHarmon on December 10, 2002 at 23:26:45:
In Reply to: Re: Greetings & Happy Holidays posted by ke lai on December 10, 2002 at 00:05:35:
Christmas Day is generally accepted as a holiday in the USA. Most businesses close so many people have the day off. Others still have to work that day, particularly health care workers, police, firefighters, and many others. Most people do not have the entire month off although a few companies and businesses schedule a week or two as vacation time for employees. For most people Christmas is only a one-day holiday.
New Year's Day on January 1 is a holiday. Many people celebrate on New Year's Eve.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is on the third Monday of January and is celebrated by many. Dr. King was a civil rights leader during the turbulent 1960's and encouraged non-violent demonstrations to change what many considered unjust laws. He used many of the same kind of moral arguments as Ghandi had in India.
Presidents' Day is the third Monday of February. About fifty years ago many people celebrated George Washington's and Abraham lincoln's Birthday in February. These were combined into one holiday to honor all of the Presidents of the USA.
March has no official holiday although many people celebrate March 17 as St. Patrick's Day. He was the Patron Saint of Ireland. Many people of Irish ancestry celebrate this day. Others of differing ethnic origins join in on the fun by becoming "Honorary Irish" for the day symbolized by wearing green clothing or accessories. Many bars serve beer with green food coloring added so that people can have green beer. Most business do not close on St. Patrick's Day.
Easter is on Sunday usually in April (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox). This is an important religious day for people of the Christian faith. It is not an official holiday.
Some people of Latino or Mexican heritage celebrate the "Cinco De Mayo" (The Fifth of May) which commemorates a military victory in Mexico.
The last Monday of the month of May is Memorial Day. This day is set aside to honor and remember all those who have died in military service to the USA. It is a rather somber occasion. Many communities have small parades with many veterans organizations participating. It is customary to lay wreaths on monuments and graves and to place flags on the graves of veterans.
In July we celebrate Independence Day or The Fourth of July. In 1776 our "Founding Fathers" signed the "Declaration of Independence." declaring the the USA would become a separate country from Great Britain.
In September we honor those who work with Labor Day. This is the traditional end of the summer season.
In October we celebrate Halloween. Children often dress up in funny or spooky costumes and go "Trick or Treating" where they go to neighbors' houses and beg for small candy treats. This is not considered a holiday and businesses do not close.
On November 11, living veterans of the military services are honored. This date corresponds with the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, and was originally called Armistice Day until the 1950's.
The fourth Thursday of November is Thanksgiving Day. Many people have a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.
Many people of Jewish ancestry celebrate Hannukah in December. Many people of African ancestry celebrate Kwanzaa in late December.
Sometimes individual states celebrate state holidays in addition to the 9 national holidays.
People generally schedule two weeks for vacation days. This varies among various businesses. Some have only one week and some have from two to six weeks off, although six weeks off is rather rare.
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