2021 USA Federal Holidays

by Trip.com

2021 Federal Holidays Schedule

Federal HolidayObserved DateDay of Week
New Year's DayJanuary 1, 2021Friday
Martin Luther King, Jr. DayJanuary 18, 2021Monday
George Washington's DayFebruary 15, 2021Monday
Memorial DayMay 31, 2021Monday
JuneteenthJune 18, 2021Friday
Independence DayJuly 5, 2021Monday
Labor DaySeptember 6, 2021Monday
Columbus DayOctober 11, 2021Monday
Veterans DayNovember 11, 2021Thursday
Thanksgiving DayNovember 25, 2021Thursday
Christmas DayDecember 24, 2021Friday

Federal Holidays 2021 – New Year's Day

Date: January 1, 2021

Day of Week: Friday

New Year's Day marks the start of a new year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. In the United States, celebrations for the holiday begin on New Year's Eve, when families and friends gather together to ring in the new year over food, drinks, and music.

The most well-known New Year's Eve celebration in the United States takes place in New York City. Before nightfall, crowds fill the Times Square area and surrounding streets, waiting for the giant, glittery ball hung on the roof of the Times Tower to drop when the clock strikes midnight. Millions of Americans around the country tune into the national event, with many TV networks covering the live performances, shows, and parties.

Another common tradition during the holiday is setting a New Year's resolution, such as accomplishing a certain goal or breaking a bad habit. Common New Year's resolutions include saving money and losing weight. While resolutions are set with good intentions, they often end up being broken before the end of January. New Year's customs vary throughout the United States, but it's undeniable that the start of a new year brings new beginnings and opportunities for everyone.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Date: January 18, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (also sometimes called MLK Day) falls on the third Monday of each year in the United States.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the heroic leader of the nonviolent civil rights movement in the United States. Steadfastly committed to nonviolence, he promoted racial justice and fought injustice and discrimination within the law and society at large.

Many, though by no means all, employers give their workers the day off to observe the holiday. Some places of education close for the day, while others hold classes or seminars about Martin Luther King, Jr.

People celebrate MLK Day in different ways, some take part in marches, parades, and listen to speeches by civil rights leaders. Others attend an event at their library or plant a tree as a symbol of hope.

There were calls for a day to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. since his tragic assassination in 1968. The day was not officially observed until 1986, and today the day remains as significant and as important as ever.

Federal Holidays 2021 – George Washington's Day

Date: February 15, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

George Washington's Day, or President's Day, is celebrated on the third Monday of February, annually. Most US states observe the holiday, with some states using it to celebrate only George Washington, the first president of the United States, and other states also using the day to recognize other presidents in addition to Washington.

On George Washington's Day, many people eat cherry pie, a tradition based on a story about the former president chopping down a cherry tree as a young man.

Many businesses close for the day, giving employees a well-earned rest and a chance to brush up on their presidential history. Schools often teach classes about George Washington before giving students the day itself off.

Celebrations vary throughout the country, with the largest parades nationwide being held in Alexandria, Virginia. The festivities typically include marching bands, and historical reenactments and performances.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Memorial Day

Date: May 31, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

In the United States, Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday in May. The holiday honors the men and women who died during military service.

While Memorial Day has been celebrated informally since the American Civil War, it didn't become an official national holiday until 1971. The holiday is a day of mourning, but it's also a time to celebrate and express thanks to those who served the country.

Across the country, Americans spend Memorial Day visiting the graves of fallen soldiers, often decorating them with flowers and flags. Family gatherings are also common, with the holiday signifying the beginning of summer.

On this special date, flags are hung from windows or placed in front yards. In the United States, it's also common to see people wearing red poppies, one of the first plants to bloom on the battlefields of Europe after World War I. Because of its resilience and ability to grow in relatively unstable conditions, the flower now symbolizes hope and remembrance.

Parades featuring active service members and American flags are held in places big and small, with nationally televised parades recorded in major cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Juneteenth

Observed Date: June 18, 2021

Day of Week: Friday

Juneteenth, also known as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day, is a federal holiday in the United States to celebrate the emancipation of African Americans who were enslaved in the nation. This festival is celebrated on June 19th (the word Juneteenth is a combination of "June" and "Nineteenth"). The traditions of celebration mainly include reading the "The Emancipation Proclamation" together, singing the traditional song of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", and reading African American writers' works.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Independence Day

Observed Date: July 5, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

Held each year on the 4th of July, American Independence Day is the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This historical document stated that the Thirteen American Colonies were free and independent of England. While the struggle for freedom continued even after the signing, the date has commemorated annually by citizens all over the country ever since.

In the United States today, celebrating the 4th of July involves many activities that have come to be seen as quintessentially American. Some families gather together for cookouts or barbecues (complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, and desserts in the colors of the American flag), while others might go to a baseball game with friends. On the days leading up to the holiday, the colors red, white, and blue can be found in shops and streets across the country.

At noon on the 4th of July, a salute of one gun for each of the fifty states is fired. This is known as a "salute to the union." During Independence Day, American flags are traditionally hung outside houses, and many cities hold parades complete with floats, horses, and military units. When night falls, patriotic fireworks light up the sky. The 4th of July is a day of celebration and togetherness for people across the United States.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Labor Day

Observed Date: September 6, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

The Labor Day in the United States is observed on the the first Monday of September each year. The Labor Day is a federal holiday to celebrate the contribution of workers to the economy and society. For many Americans, the arrival of Labor Day also means the end of summer, and it is also a time for parties, gatherings and sports events.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Columbus Day

Observed Date: October 11, 2021

Day of Week: Monday

Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in North America. In the United States, the holiday is celebrated annually on the second Monday in October. This historical event is also celebrated in various Latin American countries.

Columbus landed in the Bahamas in 1492, paving the way for other European explorers and eventually leading to settlements and colonization. Today, the holiday is marked by a three day weekend which is a popular time for travel with family and friends. Columbus Day parades complete with floats and marching bands are held in major cities like New York and Chicago. The holiday is also a celebration of the Italian-American heritage and history, and Italian flags are often seen in hanging outside houses and in shop windows.

Over the last few decades, support for the celebration of the holiday in the United States has considerably declined. Native Americans have voiced concerns that the holiday commemorates hundreds of years of colonial oppression, while other communities have pointed out that Columbus may not have been the first European to reach the continent. Opposition has led over ten states and a hundred cities to remove its status as an official holiday. In these places, the holiday is often replaced with a different celebration, such as Indigenous People's Day in Arizona and Native American Day in South Dakota.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Veterans Day

Observed Date: November 11, 2021

Day of Week: Thursday

Veterans Day is a federal holiday in the United States, scheduled for November 11 annually. This is an important national holiday in the United States, where people pay tribute to veterans, who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Thanksgiving Day

Observed Date: November 25, 2021

Day of Week: Thursday

Thanksgiving in the United States is a federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November annually. It originated from a harvest festival. The traditional dinner includes food and dishes native to the Americas, namely turkey and pumpkin pie. Other Thanksgiving customs include charitable organizations providing Thanksgiving dinner for the poor, and watching football matches. Thanksgiving is regarded as the beginning of the autumn and winter holidays, including Christmas and New Year.

Federal Holidays 2021 – Christmas Day

Observed Date: December 24, 2021

Day of Week: Friday

In the United States, Christmas is often celebrated with a traditional dinner; turkey and all the trimmings, and other seasonal comfort foods. Whatever's on the menu, the most important part of Christmas is family and friends, which is why gift-giving and get-togethers are the heart and soul of this festive season. Most families decorate their homes with a Christmas tree, tinsel, and Christmas lights, and some people even decorate the outside of their homes, lighting up their neighborhoods with Christmas cheer.

Christmas in the US is influenced by a broad range of cultural influences. For example, Mexican Americans may celebrate Las Posadas, a procession reenacting Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. In Puerto Rico, people walk around residential areas singing Christmas songs; this tradition is called parrandas.

Small towns across the US, and big cities like New York, put up big Christmas trees and extravagant lighting displays each December.

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