Minor Holidays And Occasions In America
Hereunder is a directory of minor holidays and occasions in the United States. Some of them are practically unknown, and others are quite obscure.
April Fools’ Day – (April 1): the day for practical jokes (only before noon in the UK). Its origins are obscure, but it bears a similarity to an ancient Roman festival for the goddess of nature.
Arbor Day – (last Friday in April): devoted to trees and their conservation. It is held on December 22 everywhere else in the world.
Armed Forces Day – (third Sunday in May): a day to honour the US armed forces.
Citizenship Day – (September 17): replaced Constitution Day in 1952 by presidential proclamation.
Daylight-Saving Time: was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but became the Uniform Time Act in 1966. It is not observed in Hawaii, the Eastern Time Zone of Indiana, most of Arizona (except on the Navajo Reservation), American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Election Day – (Tuesday after the first Monday in November): presidential elections are held in years divisible by four and elections for all members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate in years evenly divisible by two.
Fathers’ Day – (third Sunday in June): was first observed in West Virginia in 1908, but this uniquely American holiday was not made official until 1972.
Flag Day – (June 14): was first observed in 1877, which was the centenary of the adoption of the modern design. Truman approved the Flag Day Bill in 1949.
Groundhog Day – (February 2): on this day the groundhog looks out of his burrow. If he sees his own shadow there will be six weeks of Winter to follow, otherwise Spring is just around the corner.
Halloween – (October 31): All Hallow’s Eve is the day before the feast of All Saints. It started as a pagan custom honouring the dead and a celebration of Autumn. ‘Trick or Treat’ is purely American with no historical foundation.
Kwanzaa – is a secular celebration by African-Americans to commemorate their African heritage. It commences on Dec.26th when a candle in a candelabrum is lit every day for seven days. It was first observed by Maulana Karenga in 1966.
Mothers’ Day – (second Sunday in May): was thought of by Anne M. Jarvis of Philadelphia as a way for children to pay homage to their mothers. It received presidential proclamation in 1914.
National Maritime Day – (May 22): was initiated in 1935 to commemorate the SS Savannah’s first successful transatlantic voyage by a steamship in 1819. It is also a day of remembrance of merchant mariners who died in defense of their country.
National Teachers’ Day – (Tuesday of the first full week in May): is when students are meant to honour the teaching profession.
St. Patrick’s Day – (March 17): has been borrowed from Ireland where it is their national saint’s day.
St. Valentine’s Day – (February 14): was originally to honour two saints martyred by Emperor Claudius (214 – 270), but has been dedicated to lovers since the Middle Ages.
Susan B. Anthony Day – (February 15): Anthony (1820 – 1906) worked for women’s rights and suffrage.
United Nations’ Day – (October 24): commemorates the endorsement of the UN Charter in 1945 by the then five permanent members of the Security Council.
Owen Jones, the author of this article, writes on many topics, but is currently involved with researching Franklin planner pages. If you have an interest in calendars, organizers or promotional calendars, please go over to our website now at Promotional Desk Calendars