Celebrations, festivals and holidays – listed

WEIRD HOLIDAYS

GROUNDHOG DAY

Here’s the list of events we discussed in class and had on the cards in the matching activity.

Independence Day July 4th Americans celebrate the day they became an independent nation (from the UK). Many go to parades, picnics and watch fireworks at night.
Thanksgiving Day 4th Thursday in Nov. A day for remembrance and thankfulness, to celebrate the importance of family. This holiday has also an important historical link – the first settlers known as Pilgrim fathers.
Christmas Day December 25th Most Americans have a great family lunch of turkey or goose, and people get the presents from under the tree and open them in the morning.
New Year’s Eve 31st December Many Americans go to Times Square in NYC to watch the “ball drop”: a ball made up of crystal and electric lights descends a pole until exact midnight.
Super Bowl Sunday 1st Sun. in Feb. The championship match of professional American football, the two best teams of the season play against each other.
Groundhog Day February 2nd The groundhog (woodchuck) comes out of his hole in the ground – if he is frightened by his shadow, he returns into his hole and winter continues for 6 more weeks.
Valentine’s Day February 14th The symbol of this day is a heart – made up of flowers or chocolate, doesn’t matter. Kids at school create valentines (poems, cards etc.) for each other.
Easter Sunday March / April Americans color eggs, go for egg (and chocolate animal) hunts or even out for an early spring picnic and day of games.
Memorial Day last Mon. in May The first 3-day weekend in summer. This day is to remember ancestors and those who have fallen in battles. It is a day of going to the beach and having barbecues.
Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept. Many celebrate this day as the end of summer rather than for historical reasons. Barbecues and beach parties are always part of this 3-day holiday.
Halloween October 31st Children dress up as fantasy characters and go trick-or-treating. Many Americans attend hay mazes or haunted houses and hold parties in their homes. Those who don’t like celebrating “Halloween” hold a “Harvest Day” instead.
Columbus Day 2nd Mon. in Oct. To celebrate the Italian explorer’s arrival to the shores of the new land in 1492. Some states don’t hold this day of remembrance since they believe the land was formed by the Native Americans and not the European settlers.
Presidents’ Day 3rd Mon. in Feb. This day is to honor George Washington on his birthday – a day typically remembered in schools, however, it’s not an over-celebrated event.
Martin Luther King Day 3rd Mon. in Jan. A “Day ON not a day OFF”, says the slogan, and the communities keep it – many people do charity or community work on this to remember church leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
St Patrick’s Day March 17th Although many Americans celebrate this day, they have no idea about the man (St Patrick), so they commemorate the origins of the Irish migrants to the USA.
Cinco de Mayo May 5th A day of Mexican culture (food, music, dancing etc.) on Mexico’s independence day.
Inauguration Day January 20th Every fourth year the new (or current) president is inaugurated into office. If the day falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is Inauguration Day.
April Fool’s Day April 1st A day of playing tricks and pranks on each other. Companies publish advertisements on fake products.
Earth Day April 22nd Many communities (companies, schools etc.) do community work by cleaning the neighborhood, beaches etc.
Mother’s Day 2nd Sun. in May Many Americans give their mothers chocolates, flowers, and jewelry or take her out to lunch. Others may make her breakfast and serve it to her while she is still in her bed.
Father’s Day 3rd Sun in June Traditions vary from family to family, but many people choose to celebrate by having a barbecue dinner and possibly playing some sort of sport in the park.
Juneteenth June 19th The day when the Afro-American slaves were set free. It is still a state holiday as 18 out of the 50 American states don’t celebrate Juneteenth.
Kwanzaa December 26th – 31st A week to celebrate African culture – usually ends with friends giving gifts to each other.

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