January. New Year’s Day celebrates the start of a new year. Americans celebrate New Year’s Day on the first day of January, but the celebration actually begins on December 31, New Year’s Eve, the night before New Year’s Day. People stay up all night; they blow horns and whistles at midnight to announce the beginning of a new year. Some people shake hands, kiss, hug, sing, and shout “Happy New Year!”
On January 15, Americans celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a minister who fought against racial discrimination. He said that a person’s character is more important than the color of his skin. To remember Martin Luther King, many Americans go to church or participate in public ceremonies.
February. Americans celebrate St. Valentines Day on February 14. It is a day of love and friendship. People send greeting cards to their sweethearts and friends and ask them to “Be My Valentine”. This means “be my friend or love”. Children decorate their classrooms with big red hearts and give red roses and chocolate to their sweethearts, friends and family. On the third Monday in February, Americans celebrate President’s Day. This holiday honors two of their greatest presidents, George Washington, the first president, and Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president. Both presidents are famous for their honesty. Until 1986 this holiday was in fast two holidays: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, celebrated on February 12, and George Washington’s Birthday, celebrated on February 22. Nowadays their birthdays are celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.
March. On March 17, Americans celebrate an Irish religious holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. This Day people decorate their houses, schools, and streets with green shamrocks. And they all wear something green. They say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.
April. Easter is celebrated on a Sunday in April or May. The week before Easter Americans color eggs. On Easter Sunday children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them a basket of candy.
May. Americans honor their mothers on the second Sunday in May. This day is called Mother’s Day. Children usually buy their Moms a nice greeting card and flowers. Men usually make a big dinner. It is the way of saying, “Thanks for being such a great Mom!”
June. Americans celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June. Children usually cook breakfast for their Dads and buy him a greeting card and a new necktie.
July. On July 4, the United States celebrate Independence Day. It is called Independence Day, because on July 4, 1776, founding fathers declared that the United States would be free and independent from England.
October. On October 12, Americans celebrate Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus discovered America on October 12, 1492. At that time, many people in Europe thought that the world was flat and that if a ship sailed to the edge of the world, it would fall off! But Columbus believed the world was round and made the journey to America.
Halloween is one of the holydays for children. American children celebrate Halloween on October 31. Children wear masks and colorful costumes. The most popular costumes are ghosts, witches, and skeletons. The children walk door to door in the neighborhood and shout “trick or treat!” Most people give them a treat – candy or fruit. Americans also decorate their houses in the traditional Halloween colors: orange and black. Popular decorations are witches, ghosts, skeletons, black cats and jack-o-lantern. Jack-o-lanterns are pumpkins that are carved to look like faces. Everyone tries to look scary on Halloween!
November. Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. This is a family holiday. Families gather to give thanks for all the good things in their lives. They make a big turkey dinner.
December. Americans celebrate Christmas on December 25. Christmas is a religious holiday and one of the happiest holydays of the year, because it is the day that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. People prepare for Christmas weeks before. They buy gifts for their family and friends, choose a tree and decorate it with ornaments and lights. And they prepare special foods and cookies. Christmas is also the day that Santa Claus visits children and brings them presents in bright paper and ribbons. He delivers them on Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas, when children are sleeping. How does he get into a house? He climbs down the chimney and leaves the presents under the Christmas tree. In the morning, children open their presents and then go to church. They wish each other “Merry Christmas!”