Holidays

Columbus Day

Columbus Day is the U.S. federal holiday commemorating explorer Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. It also celebrates the cultural heritage of Italian Americans, since many scholars believe Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. Columbus Day has been an annual holiday in the United States [...]

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Thanksgiving Day a Time for Reflection, Gratitude

Thanksgiving in the United States is possibly the premier U.S. family celebration, typically celebrated at home and marked with a substantial feast. As the anchor of what is for many a four-day holiday weekend, Thanksgiving provides an occasion for family reunions, marks the beginning of the “holiday season” that continues [...]

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Halloween: An Ancient Celebration

Halloween — celebrated on October 31 — is one of the most ancient holidays still observed in the Western world. Once it was the most important day of the year for the Celtic peoples, whose descendants include the Irish, Welsh, Scots and Bretons. Samhain, as it was known then, was [...]

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Chicago, Illinois: Metropolis on the Great Lakes

Chicago, Illinois: Metropolis on the Great Lakes

The third-largest city in the United States, Chicago is the unofficial capital of the American Midwest, rooted in the Industrial Revolution that trans- formed the country into a manu- facturing powerhouse as urban centers welcomed new immigrant populations. In the early 20th century, the city became famous for the style [...]

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U.S. National Parks Reflect America’s Spirit

In the United States, summer is the traditional time for vacations. The ways in which Americans spend their leisure hours are as diverse as the land and its people. One popular activity is visiting national parks. Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month. [...]

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Celebrating America’s Birthday

Celebrating America’s Birthday

In the spring of 1776, overwhelming support for independence swept through Britain’s thirteen North American colonies. Fiercely opposed to tyranny and taxation without representation imposed by their British colonizers, the colonies banded together and elected to take action in their struggle for freedom. On July 2, the colonies voted in [...]

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Patriotic Place Names Sometimes Display Patriotic Spirit

The Fourth of July holiday is coming up, and Americans all across the United States will be celebrating with all manner of patriotic events to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the nation’s Founding Fathers on July 4, 1776. But expressions of patriotism don’t end with the [...]

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Memorial Day: Reflection and Celebration

Of the two official United States holidays recogniz­ing the commitment of members of America’s military services, Memorial Day honors those who lost their lives while defending their country. The holiday is observed on the last Monday of May, as weather is turn­ing warm and most schools and universities are adjourning [...]

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Cinco de Mayo Shows the Americanization of a Mexican Holiday

Celebration of Mexican heritage is widely observed in United States When the Cinco de Mayo (“fifth of May”) holiday is observed in the United States, the annual festivity honors the Mexican heritage of a growing number of U.S. citizens, with a focus on Mexico’s distinctive cuisine, folk dances, colorful costumes [...]

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New Orleans and Mardi Gras

With its unofficial motto being “Let the good times roll,” New Orleans has long been known as a place to party. Mardi Gras — marked by parades and unrestrained revelry each year on the Tuesday before the start of Lent — was declared a legal state holiday by Louisiana back [...]

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