U.S. National Holidays

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U.S. National Holidays :

U.S. National Holidays

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Independence Day Thanksgiving Day Columbus D ay

Independence Day:

Independence Day Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with firework s , parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball game s , family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States .

Backgraund:

Backgraund During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain . After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day later, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail: The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more . Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress. [7] There is no question that July 4, 1776 is the date that the Congress approved the final official document, having voted to declare independence two days earlier . Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had also signed it on that day. However, most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed . In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third president in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.

Observance:

Observance In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5 . In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration . In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter . This work was titled "The Psalm of Joy". In 1791 the first recorded use of the name "Independence Day" occurred. In 1820 the first Fourth of July celebration was held in Eastport, Maine which remains the largest in the state . In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees . In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday . In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting . In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France .

Customs:

Customs Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (like the postal service and federal courts) are closed on that day. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation's heritage, laws, history, society, and people. Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue and take advantage of the day off and, in some years, long weekend to gather with relatives. Decorations ( e.g. , streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares. The night before the Fourth was once the focal point of celebrations, marked by raucous gatherings often incorporating bonfires as their centerpiece. In New England, towns competed to build towering pyramids, assembled from hogsheads and barrels and casks. They were lit at nightfall, to usher in the celebration. The highest were in Salem, Massachusetts, composed of as many as forty tiers of barrels; these are the tallest bonfires ever recorded. The custom flourished in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and is still practiced in some New England towns .

PowerPoint Presentation:

Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'T h is of Thee", "This Land Is Your Land", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and, regionally, "Yankee Doodle" in northeastern states and "Dixie" in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812. Firework shows are held in many states, and many fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show. Safety concerns have led some states to ban fireworks or limit the sizes and types allowed . Illicit traffic transfers many fireworks from less restrictive states. A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base. [21] In 2009, New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded . Other major displays are in Chicago on Lake Michigan ; in San Diego over Mission Bay; in Boston on the Charles River; in St. Louis on the Mississippi River; in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay; and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. During the annual Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival, Detroit, Michigan hosts one of the world's largest fireworks displays, over the Detroit River , to celebrate Independence Day in conjunction with Windsor, Ontario's celebration of Canada Day. While the official observance always falls on July 4th, participation levels may vary according to which day of the week the 4th falls on. If the holiday falls in the middle of the week, some fireworks displays and celebrations may take place during the weekend for convenience, again, varying by region. The first week of July is typically one of the busiest American travel periods of the year, as many people utilize the holiday for extended vacation trips .

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Originally entitled Yankee Doodle , this is one of several versions of a scene painted by A. M. Willard that came to be known as The Spirit of '76 . Often imitated or parodied, it is a familiar symbol of American patriotism Held since 1785, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States. Since 1868, Seward, Nebraska has held a celebration on the same town square. In 1979 Seward was designated “America’s Official Fourth of July City-Small Town USA” by resolution of Congress. Seward has also been proclaimed Nebraska’s Official Fourth of July City” by Governor James Exon in proclamation. Seward is a town of 6,000 but swells to 40,000+ during the July 4 celebrations . Since 1912, the Rebild Society, a Danish-American friendship organization, has held a July 4 weekend festival that serves as a homecoming for Danish-Americans in the Rebild section of Denmark . Since 1916, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City supposedly started as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic. Since 1959, the International Freedom Festival is jointly held in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario during the last week of June each year as a mutual celebration of Independence Day and Canada Da y (July 1). It culminates in a large fireworks display over the Detroit River. Numerous major and minor league baseball games are played on Independence Day. The famous Macy's fireworks display usually held over the East River in New York City has been televised nationwide on NBC since 1976. In 2009, the fireworks display was returned to the Hudson River for the first time since 2000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of that river . Since 1970, the annual 10 kilometer Peachtree Road Race is held in Atlanta, Georgia. The Boston Pops Orchestra has hosted a music and fireworks show over the Charles River Esplanade called the "Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular" annually since 1973 . The event was broadcast nationally from 1987 until 2002 on the A&E Network, and has aired since 2003 on CBS . On the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C., “A Capitol Fourth,” a free concert, precedes the fireworks and attracts over half a million people annually. Unique or historical celebrations

Thanksgiving Day:

Thanksgiving Day

PowerPoint Presentation:

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canad a and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition. Today, Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday.

History :

History Prayers of thanks to God and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. The holiday's history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date of the holida y. In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations . The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans, the radical reformers of their age, wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plague in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588, and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, and developed into Guy Fawkes Day .

PowerPoint Presentation:

In the United States In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. There is also evidence for an earlier celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Texas at San Elizario in 1598, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists' leaders on the anniversary of the settlement . The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623 . While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s .

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According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden . Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving", including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623, and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631 . Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington , and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes . As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God ".

PowerPoint Presentation:

Debate about first celebrations The traditional representation of where the first Thanksgiving was held in the United States, and even the Americas, has often been a subject of debate. Author and teacher Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon of the University of Florida have argued that the earliest attested "Thanksgiving" celebration in what is now the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565, in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida. [19][20] Similarly, many historians point out that the first thanksgiving celebration in the United States was held in Virginia, and not in Plymouth. Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607 . A day of Thanksgiving was codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619 .

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Fixing the date of the holiday The reason for the earlier Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada has often been attributed to the earlier onset of winter in the north, thus ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th century. Prior to Canadian Confederation, many of the individual colonial governors of the Canadian provinces had declared their own days of Thanksgiving. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred on April 15, 1872, when the nation was celebrating the Prince of Wales recovery from a serious illness . By the end of the 19th Century, Thanksgiving Day was normally celebrated on November 6. However, when World War I ended, the Armistice Day holiday was usually held during the same week. To prevent the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on its present date on the second Monday of October . Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect, the American observance of Columbus Day has coincided with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving .

PowerPoint Presentation:

Thanksgiving in the United States, much like in Canada, was observed on various dates throughout history. The dates of Thanksgiving in the era of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln had been decided by each state on various dates. The first Thanksgiving celebrated on the same date by all states was in 1863 by presidential proclamation. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date of Thanksgiving in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. And so, in an effort by President Abraham Lincoln (influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday), to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states, proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November . It was not until December 26, 1941, that the unified date changed to the fourth Thursday (and not always final) in November—this time by federal legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after two years earlier offering his own proclamation to move the date earlier, with the reason of giving the country an economic boost, agreed to sign a bill into law with Congress, making Thanksgiving a national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November.

Observance in North America :

Observance in North America Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day , currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United Stat e s . Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year . Pumpkin pie is commonly served on and around Thanksgiving.

Columbus Day:

Columbus Day Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday. The event is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Día de la Raza in many countries in Latin America, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Hispanidad , Fiesta Nacional in Spain, Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural (Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity) in Argentina and as Día de las Américas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century, and officially in various areas since the early 20th century.

United States Observanse:

United States Observanse History Columbus Day first became an official state holiday in Colorado in 1906, and became a federal holiday in 1937, though people have celebrated Columbus' voyage since the colonial period. In 1792, New York City and other U.S. cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of his landing in the New World. President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During the four hundredth anniversary in 1892, teachers, preachers, poets and politicians used Columbus Day rituals to teach ideals of patriotism. These patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as support for war, citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress . Catholic immigration in the mid-19th century induced discrimination from anti-immigrant activists. Like many other struggling immigrant communities, Catholics developed organizations to fight discrimination and provide insurance for the struggling immigrants. One such organization, the Knights of Columbus, chose that name in part because it saw Christopher Columbus as a fitting symbol of Catholic immigrants' right to citizenship: one of their own, a fellow Catholic, had discovered America . Many Italian-Americans observe Columbus Day as a celebration of their heritage, the first occasion being in New York City on October 12, 1866 . ] Columbus Day was first popularized as a holiday in the United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce , a first generation Italian, in Denver. The first official, regular Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905 and made a statutory holiday in 1907 . In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made October 12 a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day . Since 1971, the holiday has been fixed to the second Monday in October , coincidentally the same day as Thanksgiving in neighboring Canada (which was fixed to that date in 1959). It is generally observed nowadays by banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies, most state government offices, and some school districts. Some businesses and some stock exchanges remain open, also some states and municipalities abstain from observing the holiday .

PowerPoint Presentation:

Local observance of Columbus Day Actual observance varies in different parts of the United States, ranging from large-scale parades and events to complete non-observance. Most states celebrate Columbus Day as an official state holiday, though many mark it as a "Day of Observance" or "Recognition" and three do not recognize it at all. Most states (including states where it's not a legal holiday) close schools and other state services, while others operate as normal. San Francisco claims the nation's oldest continuously existing celebration with the Italian-American community's annual Columbus Day Parade, which was established by Nicola Larco in 1868,while New York City boasts the largest . ] As in the mainland U.S., Columbus Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. In the United States Virgin Islands, the day is celebrated as both Columbus Day and "Puerto Rico Friendship Day . ” Virginia also celebrates two legal holidays on the day, Columbus Day and Yorktown Victory Day, which honors the final victory at the Siege of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War .

PowerPoint Presentation:

Non-observance Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota are the three states that do not recognize Columbus Day at all, though Hawaii and South Dakota mark the day with an alternative holiday or observance. Hawaii celebrates Discoverers' Day, which commemorates the Polynesian discoverers of Hawaii on the same date, the second Monday of October , though the name change has not ended protest related to the observance of Columbus' discovery. The state government does not treat either Columbus Day or Discoverers' Day as a legal holiday; [18] state, city and county government offices and schools are open for business. South Dakota celebrates the day as an official state holiday known as "Native American Day" rather than Columbus Day. Nevada does not celebrate Columbus Day as an official holiday; however, the governor is "authorized and requested" by statute to proclaim the day each year. This probably has less to do with any objection to the celebration of the day than the fact that it is relatively close to Nevada Day, and schools and banks can only be closed for so many days. Several other states have removed Columbus Day as a paid holiday for government workers while still maintaining it either as a day of recognition or a legal holiday for other purposes. These include California and Texas . In 2007, Dane County Wisconsin Supervisor Ashok Kumar replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day. The city of Berkeley, California has replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day since 1992 , a move which has been replicated by several other localities . Two other California cities, Sebastopol and Santa Cruz, now celebrate Indigenous People's Day. South Dakota renamed the holiday "Native American Day ". ] Various tribal governments in Oklahoma designate the day "Native American Day", or name the day after their own tribe. The Navajo Nation replaced Columbus Day with Navajo Nation Sovereignty Day, which is observed on April 4 .

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