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What International Students Should Know about American National Holiday Celebrations

You should know that breaks at colleges and universities of the United States are often scheduled around national holiday celebrations. Thus, the students may have rest for a couple of days around Thanksgiving or even a month in December and January because of Christmas.

United States National Holidays
Most universities and workplaces celebrate the following holidays by closing for the day:

  • New Year’s Day (Jan. 1)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (first Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas (December 25)


Many universities and workplaces also recognize these holidays:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr Day (third Monday in January)
  • Presidents Day (third Monday in February)
  • Easter (date varies, a Sunday in spring)
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)


Moreover, the state also celebrates such holidays throughout the year as: Mardi Gras (the date varies, but it is in February or March), Valentine’s Day (February 14), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), Halloween (October 31), Election Day (first Tuesday after the first Monday in November) and New Year’s Eve (December 31).

Explanation of Some American National Holidays

Here are some holidays recognizing the achievements of American citizens:

  1. Memorial Day: Honors all Americans who have died in wars since the Civil War.
  2. Independence Day: Celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
  3. Labor Day: Recognizes the achievement of the nation’s workers.
  4. Thanksgiving: A time to give thanks and recognize some of the nation’s first settlers.
  5. Martin Luther King, Jr Day: Honors the birth of this US civil rights leader.
  6. Presidents Day: Recognizes all American presidents.
  7. Columbus Day: Honors Christopher Columbus, who is said to have discovered America.
  8. Veterans Day: Honors all veterans of the United States.

Generally, there exist no “national” holidays in the United States. Thus, the country celebrates federal holidays observed by government agencies. Moreover, some states have their own specific holidays, too.