Top 10 American Celebrations

The United States of America is an amalgamation of numerous different people from across the world (some even proudly trace their lineage directly to the natives of the land). As such, it is no wonder that the USA celebrates a number of various occasions throughout the year – and families from every single community, no matter how far apart on the global map, come together in celebration. The top ten famous American celebrations are listed below:

1. Christmas

An annual festival in Christianity celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the word ‘Christmas’ itself comes from joining two words together: ‘Christ’ and ‘Mass’. This is because on Christmas Eve, Christian believers attend religious service(s) at their local church(s).

This mass service, which is sometimes also known as ‘Communion’ or ‘Eucharist’, is where Christians remember that (according to their faith) Jesus Christ died for their sins and came back to life. Since the Christ Mass was the only service that was allowed to take place after sunset and before sunrise the following day, people began to have it at midnight.

Christmas has also become a yearly event for family gatherings and reunions, with Christmas presents exchanged between members of the same / different families. The ‘Christmas Spirit’ is another major part of the celebration of Christmas, whereby people try to give in the way of charity and preach about the virtues of forgiveness to each other.

2. Independence Day

Every 4th of July, families and friends across the United States of America celebrate the American Independence Day with a festive combination of vacations, barbeque’s, parties, sparklers and fireworks.. This is the day that the US was finally emancipated from British Rule. Every city is known for its over-the-top celebrations on this day.

New York has the best pyrotechnic shows in the entire country – and tourists from around the world come to witness this show. Locals and visitors gather to enjoy the views from the rooftops of New York’s posh skyscrapers and hotels, or even partake in an evening cruise across the river, Washington, the capital city, hosts various events and even concerts.

The National Mall is the epicenter of Independence Day celebrations, with a parade along Constitution Avenue and beautiful evening fireworks over the Washington Monument. Independence Day is a wild, fun-filled celebration of the different communities living across America celebrating their unique American-ness. It is a day of joy and pride.

3. Easter

Also known as Pascha (in Greek / Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, the Easter festival commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.

The week before Easter is referred to by most Christians as ‘Holy Week’. There are slight differences in the way it is commemorated. In Western Christianity, Easter begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the 50th day (called Pentecost Sunday); while in Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha (Easter) begins with Pascha and ends on the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension.

Christians celebrate the festivities of Easter with a number of traditional activities. These include music, church services, and candlelight meals.

4. Memorial Day

This is a very special day (and a federal holiday) celebrated across the United States in honor of the numerous military personnel who died while serving in the US Armed Forces. Observed on the last Monday of the month of May, it was originally known as Decoration Day and originated in the years after the Civil War(s).

5. Thanksgiving

This is a national holiday which is celebrated on different dates across the USA, Canada and some Caribbean Islands. It is a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year. Families come from far and wide at this time to be together in celebrating this special occasion. Although it has its roots in religion, is is also celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

6. Halloween

Also known as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve, Halloween is celebrated in several different countries across the globe on 31st October each year. It begins the three-day observance of ‘Allhallowtide’, which is dedicated to remembering the dead, the martyrs and saints. Children and adults leave their homes on this night, dressed up as fictional (and sometimes real-life) characters, asking for treats as a way to increase neighborly love.

7. Valentine’s Day

Also called Saint Valentine’s Day, this special day is celebrated on the 14th of February each year. Originating as a feast day honoring two early saints named Valentinus, this day is celebrated as a day of (giving and receiving) love. While its roots may be religious, it has commercially been celebrated as a day of romance and is one of the most important days of the whole business year in terms of consumerism.

8. New Year’s Eve

The last day of the Gregorian Calendar (31st December), it is celebrated by people across the USA with parties, drinks, music and fireworks. Some Christians even attend a watchnight service (also called Watchnight Mass). Celebrations usually go way past midnight into the next day – which is normally a holiday.

9. Father’s and Mother’s Day(s)

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are annual days that are dedicated to celebrating the respective parental roles in families. Father’s Day was inaugurated in the USA in the early 20th century to complement Mother’s Day. A national holiday, it is celebrated by families – with children showering their respective parents with gifts, love and affection as a tribute to the important roles their parents play in their lives.

10. President’s Day

George Washington’s birthday, also known as ‘President’s Day’, is a federal holiday celebrated each year on the third Monday of the month February. He was the first President of the USA. The day is used to honor all the past Presidents of the States, not just Washington. Depending on the specific state, the day is also celebrated officially as a holiday.

A food associated with President Day is cherry pie, based on the legendary chopping of a cherry tree in Washington’s youth. Most businesses offer promotions and special sales on that day, while public and elementary schools are normally closed for the day.