Having a reputation of a very hardworking nation, Americans still like having holidays, vacations and different kinds of festivities and celebrations. Some of them are less important and widespread, and some were proclaimed as federal or legal. On these days people have paid days-off and most official institutions work a shortened day or are closed at all. Some holidays are customary to spend with family, and on some days it is convenient to gather with friends, or make a party, or go on vacation somewhere.
The most authentic American holidays are the Independence Day and the Thanksgiving. The first one is accepted to be a national holiday and is celebrated on July, 4th. It commemorates the proclamation of the US Independence in the year of 1776. People adore this holiday and treat it as an annual national birthday. The whole country is in high spirit: patriotic speeches are delivered, parties are organized in parks and on beeches, jazz and different ethnic musicians give performances. Finally, fireworks are usually set at night when the sky is dark.
The Day of Thanksgiving is traditionally held on the last Thursday of November. The tradition to thank God for harvest and prosperity dates back to 1621. After a famine and winter full of deaths from epidemics the farmers got a decent harvest and made a feast to commemorate the exuberance of nature and thank God for His blessing. This event gave birth to the national family holiday. On this day people try to go to their families even if it takes a long drive home. They usually roast a well-fed turkey with potatoes and bake a pumpkin pie. Before the dinner starts, the oldest male member of a family pronounces his thanks and the rest of family follow his example.
Less known but also typical American national holidays are the Memorial Day, the Presidents Day, the Veterans Day, the Labour Day, and the Columbus Day. The Memorial (May, 30th) and Veterans (November, 11th) Days commemorate all the fallen representatives of the military forces in all wars. Americans respect their history and the founders of their homeland, and thus they honour the first president of the USA – George Washington (February, 22nd). The Labour Day (the 1st Monday of September) honours the end of summer. The Columbus Day (2nd Monday of October) means the memory of opening of the continent of America by Christopher Columbus.
Of course Americans also celebrate such holidays as Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, New Year, Father’s and Mother’s Days, and etc.