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Memorial Day in May ranks among the most important holidays in the US. It was instituted to commemorate America’s fallen veterans, and is celebrated with a wide variety of events. Just like on the 10 other federal holidays, many institutions are closed on that day.

We will tell you all about the history of this holiday, when it takes place, and which celebrations you can attend. In addition, you will learn more about Memorial Day Sales and their many bargains.

Memorial Day – History and Meaning

As the name suggests, Memorial Day is a date of remembrance for all US Military personnel that died while fulfilling their duty. This sets it apart from Veterans Day, which caters to all former US soldiers, dead or alive.

The history behind Memorial Day is complex, as this holiday had many predecessors. Before and during the American Civil War, for instance, it was already a custom to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.

Historians have identified 25 predecessors of Memorial Day – many of which took place in former Confederate states like Virginia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Oftentimes, these events were organized by widows and women groups.

Meanwhile, the North had remembrance days of its own, even though they were not institutionalized yet. Decoration Day, for example, was celebrated by 27 states from 1886 onwards.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson tried to end the discussions about the birthplace of Memorial Day. He declared Waterloo, New York as the official place. However, who celebrated the first Memorial Day, and where, is still a matter of debate. In 1967, Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day, and one year later, this holiday received its official date, which is still valid today.

There is also a Confederate Memorial Day that is only celebrated in the Southern states and serves to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the Confederation. This holiday, albeit still officially recognized, has become more and more controversial, and public adherence is on the decline.

Memorial Day – Date

Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer in the USA, and takes place on the last Monday in May each year. This means, it moves between May 25 and 31.

In the next years, Memorial Day falls on the following dates:

  • Memorial Day 2022: May 30
  • Memorial Day 2023: May 29
  • Memorial Day 2024: May 27
  • Memorial Day 2025: May 26

The month of May was not picked randomly, by the way: US general John A. Logan suggested this month so that citizens would be able to pick fresh flowers and lay them on soldiers’ graves.

Not all veterans, however, were happy with the decision to place Memorial Day on a Monday. Many feared that people would use the long weekend for “games, races and revelry” instead of solemn remembrance.

Memorial Day – Celebrations and Ceremonies

Memorial Day is one of the most emotional holidays in the USA and has a special meaning for patriots across the country – just like Veterans Day and Independence Day. This can be seen in the following celebrations and ceremonies:

Cemetery Services

Volunteers and families honor their fallen soldiers by placing flowers and American flags on their graves. On the largest scale, this can be witnessed at the National Military Cemetery of Arlington. Grave Markers, medals with military symbols, also enjoy huge popularity on this day. In additions, there are ceremonies in which speakers thank America’s fallen heroes for their service to the country.

Flag Ceremonies

If you are traveling on Memorial Day, you might see flag ceremonies that follow a strict protocol: At dawn, the US flag is raised quickly before being lowered to half mast. It remains in this position until noon when it is brought to the top again.

National Moment of Remembrance

An integral part of Memorial Day is the National Moment of Remembrance: At 3 pm sharp, all Americans are encouraged to stop their activities and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the fallen soldiers. This way, the original meaning of the holiday is preserved. Major League baseball games are halted at 3 pm, and Amtrak trains all over the country are sounding their horns.


At the center of the festivities are parades that are held in the entire US. Most often, active soldiers march alongside veterans of past wars. If you look closely, you might also see red poppies on the servicemens’ uniforms: Since World War 1, these flowers have been an official symbol of Memorial Day.

The oldest continuous Memorial Day parade is held in Ironton, Ohio. It has taken place there since 1868. As of now, Washington, DC and New York share the title of America’s biggest Memorial Day parade.

Memorial Day – Opening Hours

Memorial Day is a federal holiday celebrated in all states of the USA, so non-essential institutions are closed on that day. This includes post offices, for example, so mail is not delivered on Memorial Day. The stock exchange takes a break, and federal employees receive a day off. Banks are also closed on Memorial Day.

This is not the case for restaurants and shops, which are allowed to stay open. In fact, many businesses use the occasion to attract customers, as we will show in the following section.

A tip for all motorists: Prior to the long Memorial Day weekend, highways in the US get fairly crowded. Most traffic occurs on Thursday and Friday – something you should keep in mind if you want to travel by car.

Memorial Day Sales – Shopping Events with special Offers

Many Americans use the long Memorial Day weekend to go shopping. Stores have reacted to this trend and are offering many bargains at this time. Because Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, there are many sales on outdoor articles like yard furniture, grills and lawnmowers.

Household appliances, mattresses, clothing, TVs and laptops can also be had for a fraction of their price on Memorial Day – for instance, at shops like Walmart, Best Buy or Home Depot.

If you really want to save money, you should keep an eye out for Memorial Day Coupons. Nowadays, you do not have to cut them out of magazines. Instead, you can simply download them from websites like savings.com, retailmenot.com or groupon.com.

Memorial Day is a popular travel date. Thus, many hotels in the USA offer special deals – for example, in Florida. However, you should book well in advance, as hotels fill up quickly on the Memorial Day weekend. If you like it more spontaneous, though, you can still enjoy plenty of offers at restaurants all across the country.

Less relevant for vacationers, but an integral part of Memorial Day are offers for veterans and active servicemen. In many museums and theme-parks, for example, they receive free entrance for themselves and their families – in addition to discounts at shops and restaurants.

Memorial Day FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is an official federal holiday that is celebrated by all states of the USA. It serves to commemorate US servicemen who died while fulfilling their duty.

When is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day takes place on the last Monday of May every year. It forms the last day of the long Memorial Day weekend and also marks the unofficial beginning of summer in the US.

How is Memorial Day celebrated?

Among the ceremonies are the decoration of soldiers’ graves, as well as parades, concerts, speeches and a moment of silence at 3 pm. Shopping is another popular activity on Memorial Day, as many shops offer special sales and discounts.

Which institutions are closed on Memorial Day?

On Memorial Day, all federal institutions, post offices and banks are closed. Most shops and restaurants, however, stay open.

Can you guess what pilgrims, turkeys and football have in common? Correct – they all belong to one of the most popular holidays in the USA: Thanksgiving. No other day in the year, with the exception of Christmas, is so important for the family. Festive dinners and football matches on TV are as well a part of this holiday as spectacular parades, and of course, traffic jams on US highway.

In this article, you will learn all about this true American fest and its traditions. We will also cover the opening times on Thanksgiving and give you some idea of what to do on this special date.

Thanksgiving – Meaning and History

The history of Thanksgiving is fairly complex. On the one hand, this celebration resembles European harvest fests that were, and still are, commonly held in autumn. On the other hand, Thanksgiving is a holiday that could only have originated in the USA and goes back to the 17th century when Pilgrims and Puritans were settling North America.

Starting out in the New World, both groups were facing hard times. To thank God for his support during these times, they held a celebration – together with the Native Americans that had helped them in their first year.

As we all now, New England’s colonies later became the founding states of the USA. Who celebrated the first Thanksgiving and where, is still a matter of debate, though. Some historians name Plymouth, others Massachusetts, and others Virginia. To make matters even more complicated, there were Catholic thanksgiving fests that the Spanish settlers had brought with them to America.

Thanksgiving was soon celebrated all over the country – even more so when the USA became independent from Britain. The fact that this was a religious holiday did not bother the founding fathers, by the way. Even George Washington, not an ardent worshipper by any means, urged his countrymen to “give prayers and thanks to God the Almighty”. Thanksgiving turned out to be a holiday that everybody could celebrate – just the right “glue” to hold the young republic together.

In 1863, another famous US President, Abraham Lincoln, set the official date of Thanksgiving to the last Thursday in November – no surprise, as this date had become widespread already. In 1941, it was slightly changed, but more on that later…

Thanksgiving – Traditions and Ceremonies

First and foremost, Thanksgiving is a family holiday that is celebrated at home. Since its start, many customs and traditions have crystallized, and now form an integral part of this day:

Thanksgiving Dinner

A true highlight of Thanksgiving Day is the festive dinner – an occasion for the whole extended family to come together.

At the center of the decorated table sits a roasted turkey filled with stuffing: breadcrumbs, onions, celery, spices… almost every family in the USA has their own recipe, often passed down for generations. Side dishes include potatoes, yams, cranberries and corn – typical ingredients of the first settlers. Another beloved Thanksgiving food is pumpkin, either as soup or sweet cake for dessert.

Fun Fact: Statistics show that Americans consume more food on Thanksgiving than on any other day. Thus, if you are invited to a Thanksgiving dinner, you better skip lunch.

As a guest, you might also be asked to pull on the wishbone of the turkey with another person. If the bone breaks in half and you happen to hold the bigger piece, you can make a wish.

Thanksgiving Turkey Pardoning

Maybe you have seen the US president on TV receiving a turkey for Thanksgiving. Unlike its many brethren, though, this bird is lucky. Since John F. Kennedy, it has been custom for presidents to “pardon” the turkey, who will then spend the rest of its life on a farm or in a petting zoo.

This last happened in 2020, when President Donald Trump granted a 40 pound gobbler named “Corn” the official pardon. Thus, this fortunate turkey was spared the oven.

Thanksgiving – Football

For many Americans, football is as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and pumpkin pie – since the 19th century, mind you. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the NFL schedules some of their most important games on Thanksgiving weekend. If you want, you can watch three games live on TV. In addition, many families enjoy throwing the “Pigskin” around in their backyard for a friendly family match.

Thanksgiving – Parades

In addition to family gatherings, Thanksgiving is also celebrated with spectacular public parades. Macy´s Thanksgiving Parade, the biggest of these, takes place in New York and is famous for its festively decorated wagons. There is an over-sized turkey, a marching band and Santa Claus – a reminder that Christmastime is around the corner. You can also watch this parade in Florida as it stops at Orlando’s Universal Studios every year.

Black Friday, the Day after Thanksgiving

The Friday after Thanksgiving marks one of the most important shopping events in the USA: Black Friday. Then, shops make use of the circumstance that not only federal employees, but also students and many other workers get this day off.

Discounts of up to 70 % can be had on that day, and many shopping centers operate with longer opening hours. The typical Black Friday rush, however, is not for the faint of heart, as the following video shows.

Thanksgiving – Date

Since 1941, Thanksgiving has officially been celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Now you might ask: Why did the USA not stick to the last Thursday of this month?

The answer has to do with the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1933, November had five Thursdays, so Thanksgiving naturally fell on the 30th. Since most Americans were accustomed to doing their Christmas shopping after this holiday, business owners feared for their profit. Choosing the fourth Thursday in November, on the other hand, made sure that Thanksgiving wood take place no later than November 28.

Here are some dates of past and following years:

  • Thanksgiving 2021: November 25
  • Thanksgiving 2022: November 24
  • Thanksgiving 2023: November 23
  • Thanksgiving 2024: November 28
  • Thanksgiving 2025: November 27

Thanksgiving – Opening Hours

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday. This means that it is celebrated in all states of the USA. Federal employees are paid for this day, government institutions like post offices are closed and the stock exchange takes a break – as do banks.

Many businesses give their employees leave, not only on Thursday, but the entire Thanksgiving weekend. The same applies to schools. Thus, it should come as no surprise that highways across the country get fairly crowded around that time.

As a visitor, you should also keep in mind that restaurants and shops are either closed on Thanksgiving or operate with shorter hours – a rarity in the USA. If you want to go shopping, you should therefore wait for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

Of course, you can use public transport during this holiday. Most bus and train lines follow their Sunday schedule.

Thanksgiving FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving originated from religious harvest fests, but is now a mostly secular holiday celebrated by all ethnicities in the USA. In addition to dinners with the whole family, it is also accompanied by football games and parades.

Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving goes back to the first settlers of New England, who celebrated their survival in America with a religious fest. Still today, many ingredients that were harvested by these settlers are part of the Thanksgiving dinner: for instance, turkey, yams, pumpkin and corn.

When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Depending on the year, it takes place between November 22 und 28. The following day is called Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping events of the year.

What is closed on Thanksgiving?

On Thanksgiving, public life in the USA mostly comes to a halt: Offices, banks, shops and restaurants are closed, while public transport operates with limited timetables.

Do other countries have Thanksgiving, too?

In addition to the USA, there are other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving fests – but in slightly different form and on other days. In Canada, for example, Thanksgiving takes place in October, and Australians celebrate their Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday in November.

There are 19 Million veterans living in the USA – reason enough to thank them on a designated holiday. Since the End of World War I, this has taken place on Veterans Day in November.

Festive parades and ceremonies are as much a part of this holiday as Veterans Day Sales with amazing bargains for active and retired US soldiers.

In this article, you will learn what the history of Veterans Day is all about, where you can see the biggest celebrations, and which institutions are closed on this special day.

Veterans Day – History and Meaning

The history of Veterans Day goes back to the year 1919. One year before, on November 11, an armistice had been signed by the German Reich and the Western Powers, which effectively ended World War I.

On the first anniversary of that day, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the American people with a proclamation, talking about progress, prosperity and democracy, but also commemorating the men who had fought for these very ideals.

November 11 was first turned into an official holiday in 1926 – and named Armistice Day. Originally planned as a memorial day for World War I veterans, the meaning of Armistice Day underwent a transformation during the century. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, it was renamed Veterans Day, and in 1954, its meaning was extended to celebrate all former members of the US military who had been discharged under honorable conditions.

Veterans Day is not the only occasion dedicated to America’s troops. Other such holidays include:

  • Memorial Day: a federal holiday commemorating fallen US soldiers in May.
  • Armed Forces Day: another holiday in May, honoring all active members of the US Military.
  • Womens Veterans Day in July: the anniversary of the date when women were first allowed to enter the armed forces.

In addition, all branches of the US Military have their own holidays, which do not have the same status as Veterans Day, but are accompanied by parades and displays: for example, the Marine Corps’ Birthday on November 10, or Air Force Day on September 18.

Veterans Day – Festivities and Ceremonies

Veterans Day is of utmost importance for the national identity of the US, and includes a number of spectacular ceremonies and festivities – among them:


Veterans Day would not be the same without festive parades that see veterans, active military personal and reservists march side by side – accompanied by bands, and a sea of American flags. The biggest parade is held in New York, by the way: 20.000 members of the military and half a Million viewers take part in the New York Veterans Day Parade, which dates back to the year 1919 and is even broadcast on TV. Of course, there are also parades in Florida: for example, in Tampa, Orlando or Miami. If you want to see the state’s biggest parade, you should go to Jacksonville.

Cemetery Services

Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most important memorial sites in the USA – even more so on Veterans Day. At 11 am, the service starts at the „Tomb of the unknown Soldier“, a symbol for all fallen US servicemen. After the national anthem, the US President performs a wreath-laying ceremony to express the country’s gratitude. Similar ceremonies take place all over the country, and in the days leading up to Veterans Day, many cemeteries are decorated with American flags.

A common symbol that often adorns uniforms on that day are red poppies. This flower was mentioned in John McCrae’s poem “In Flander’s Fields” and has been used to commemorate fallen US soldiers since the end of World War I.

Moment of Silence

According to a resolution by the US Congress, all Americans are encouraged to observe two minutes of silence at 3:11 pm on Veterans Day. This decision is fairly new. It was issued in 2016 by the Obama administration to “honor the service and sacrifice of veterans throughout the history of the nation” (114th Congress – S.1004).

Veterans Day Sales

On Veterans Day, Many shops in the USA take the opportunity to thank former servicemen with special sales and offers. Gas stations, for example, offer free gas for veterans, while restaurants do not charge anything for coffee. Depending on the store, these discounts also apply to active military personnel, reservists, first responders, nurses, and teachers.

Contribution of the NFL

Every year on Veterans Day, the North American Football League (NFL) hold a “Salute to Service” in honor of America’s ex-servicemen. This includes football games, of course: For every point at the Salute to Service Games, 1,000 USD goes to non-profit veteran organizations. In addition, members of the military accompany the players on the field and take part in the pre-game and half-time shows. On the NFL website, fans can buy patriotic merchandise like hats and T-shirts.

Private Commemoration

Veterans Day is not only celebrated in the public domain. Individually, many Americans take the opportunity to say “thank you” to Veterans and visit memorial sites. At houses, you can often see the American flag – raised briskly, that is. Unlike Memorial Day, when the flag is in half-mast position, Veterans Day is a day of joyful celebration. Thus, there is nothing wrong with wishing each other “Happy Veterans Day”.

Donating to veterans organizations is also popular on that day, and many volunteers send packages to soldiers stationed overseas. In the last years, Veterans Day has become an occasion for the media to raise awareness about issues like difficult job prospects for veterans or PTSD due to combat experience.

Veterans Day – Date

Every year, Veterans Day takes place on November 11 – the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Fittingly, public events start at 11 am sharp.

Please note: If November 11 is a Sunday, Veterans Day will fall on the following Monday. If it is a Saturday, the ceremonies are either held on that day or the Friday before.

Here are some weekdays for past and future Veterans Days:

  • Veterans Day 2020: Wednesday
  • Veterans Day 2021: Thursday
  • Veterans Day 2022: Friday
  • Veterans Day 2023: Saturday, instead on Friday
  • Veterans Day 2024: Monday.

Veterans Day – Opening Hours

As a federal holiday, Veterans Day is celebrated in all states of the USA. This means that non-essential government institutions stay closed – just like post offices, banks and the stock exchange.

For private companies and schools, the rules are less strict. They can decide for themselves if they want to close on Veterans Day or not. The same applies to stores. Most of the big chains like Walmart, Best Buy and Target are open. In addition, restaurants, theme parks and museums use the large number of visitors to turn a profit on Veterans Day.

Veterans Day FAQ – Frequently asked Questions

What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day is a US holiday for all ex-members of the military who have been honorably discharged. It has been celebrated since the year 1919.

When is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day takes place on November 11 every year. If Veterans Day falls on a Sunday or Saturday, though, it is custom to celebrate it on a Monday or Friday instead.

Is Veterans Day a federal holiday?

Yes, Veterans Day is a federal holiday, and thus celebrated in all states of the USA. This means that government buildings, post offices and banks are closed. Most stores and restaurants, however, stay open.

What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?

While Memorial Day commemorates the sacrifice of fallen US soldiers, Veterans Day is held in honor of all former servicemen in the country.

Marching bands, parades, and fireworks in the evening – there is hardly a US holiday with more spectacular celebrations than July 4. And you do not have to be a hardcore patriot to have fun on this holiday. Many people simply enjoy being outside for a picnic or barbecue.

In this article, you will learn more about the history of July 4, how it is celebrated, and which shops and public institutions are closed. In addition, we will give you some ideas of what to do (and cook) on this special occasion.

4th of July – History and Meaning

As the name Independence Day suggests, July 4 marks the splitting of the USA from the British Motherland. On this day in 1776, 13 founding colonies proclaimed the Declaration of Independence. Granted, it would take a long, bloody war until the USA became an independent country. Without the 4th of July, however, there would have been no nation. Therefore, many Americans rightfully view this date as the birthday of the US.

Independence Day could have easily fallen on July 2, the day when the colonies voted on splitting from Britain. This event, however, was held behind closed doors, and the public Declaration of Independence took place two days later.

July 4 became the official founding date, and was first celebrated one year later in Philadelphia – at a time, when the USA were still at war with Britain. This did not stop the colonists from holding mock funerals for the king of England, light bonfires, fire musket shots and publicly read the Declaration of Independence. Soldiers received double rations of rum on that day.

Interesting fact: Two of the founding fathers, namely John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died 50 years later on July 4. This remarkable coincidence served to make the date even more prominent in the minds of US citizens.

4th of July – Festivities and Ceremonies

In 1776, founding father John Adams prophesized that following generations would celebrate the 4th of July with „pomp and parades, games, canon shots and firework“. With the exception of canons, this visionary should be correct. Still today, Independence Day is by far the most spectacular holiday in the US.


The morning of July 4 traditionally starts with Independence Day Parades, and almost every major city in the USA has one. Marching bands, historical costumes, decorated wagons and a myriad of American flags are a part of these events. Oftentimes, active servicemen march alongside veterans, and many politicians use the occasion to give a patriotic speech. The oldest parade takes place in Bristol, New England, and goes as far back as 1785.


Fireworks have been an integral part of July 4 for over 200 years. They take place across the country, with New York City still holding the record for the biggest display. Here, more than 20 tons of firework light up the sky every year. In addition, these events are often accompanied by patriotic songs like „Star-Spangled Banner“, the national anthem of the USA.

Many Americans light their own firework on the 4th of July, so in the weeks before, shops start to sell rockets and firecrackers. American military bases get in on the action, too, and fire 13 salute shots – one for each founding state of the USA.

If you are traveling to Florida, Miami is a perfect spot. There, fireworks are held in multiple locations – for example, during the Fire on the Fourth Festival at the North Beach Bandshell. Disney World is another place where the sky is lit with spectacular colors on July 4


Historically, US citizens did not only celebrate July 4, but also the night before. Then, pyramids of wood were lit on fire, and cities would compete with each other over the largest bonfire. Today, these festivities are not widespread anymore, which has a lot to do with security issues. The famous bonfires of Waldon County, Florida, for instance, rarely get a green light by authorities, and in New England, most cities have also switched to fireworks.

Family Celebrations

Many US citizens use the 4th of July to spend time with their families – predominantly outside. If the weather allows it, picnics and barbecues enjoy huge popularity. For these festivities, houses and yards are decorated with American flags and the colors red, white and blue. In addition, many people like to wear patriotic T-shirts on July 4.

4th of July – Food and Drinks

Typical 4th of July food includes American classics like barbecue meat, hot dogs, burgers, grilled corn and potato salad. Many hosts serve refreshing melon juice, and a popular dessert is S´Mores: fire-grilled marshmallows and chocolate between two biscuits.

If you are looking for 4th of July recipes, you will also come across a variety of cocktails: for example, margaritas in the colors of the American flag: Grenadine, Blue Curacao and a white layer of lime juice are the ingredients for this patriotic drink.

4th of July – Films and Music

July 4 is the birthday of the USA. What better way, then, to pass the waiting time for the firework with a patriotic movie?

Most popular, of course, is “Independence Day” from the year 1996. Do you prefer serious topics over space aliens? Then, we can recommend the movie “Born on the Fourth of July” with Tom Cruise. If you want to learn more about the early days of the USA, salted with a lot of bias, of course, Mel Gibson´s “The Patriot” is perfect. Superhero fans should watch “Captain America”, and in “National Treasure”, Nicolas Cage steals the Declaration of Independence to find a legendary treasure – a true 4th of July movie for the whole family.

The 4th of July has also inspired music – most prominently, of course, Amy MacDonald´s famous song “Fourth of July”. More tunes that should grace every patriotic playlist include Neil Diamond’s “America”, “Born in the USA”, and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” by Toby Keith.

4th of July – Opening Hours

4th of July is one of 11 federal holidays in the USA. This means that it is celebrated in every state. Federal institutions like post offices are closed on that day, and federal employees get the day off. Banks also close their doors on this special holiday.

Please note: If the 4th of July falls on a weekend, many offices and banks let their employees take the following Monday off.

In the USA, shops can decide for themselves whether they want to open on Independence Day. Thus, you should check the opening hours before. Large chains like Walmart, Publix, Target, Ikea, Home Depot and Bass Pro are mostly open for business but may close early that day.

Of course, you are able to use public transport on the 4th of July. Busses and trains are less frequent, but can nonetheless be a good alternative to cars. Especially if July 4 is part of a long weekend, the highways get fairly overcrowded.

4th of July – Shopping and Sales

Unlike Memorial Day and Black Friday, the 4th of July is not a classical shopping holiday. However, many shops hold 4th of July Sales in the weeks before. Home Depot, for example, offers everything customers need for their barbecue party: for example, grills and yard furniture. In addition, indoor furniture and mattresses can be had for a bargain, as can sportswear and household goods like TVs. Puma even fashioned a pair of sneakers for this holiday: the “Palace Guard 4th of July”.

For many Americans, firework at home is an integral part of the celebration. Uncle Sam, however, has grown increasingly weary of this trend, and many states now impose bans on the sale of fireworks. In Florida, it is legal to light fireworks on the 4th of July. You should, however, read the fine-print, as not every item is allowed. In addition, there are regulations by counties and cities. If you want to be on the safe – and cheaper – side, you are better-off watching a public firework.

Juli FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

When is the 4th of July?

In 2022, the 4th of July falls on a Monday. Thus, US citizens can look forward to a long weekend – just as in 2025 when Independence Day will be a Friday.

Why do we celebrate 4th July?

July 4 marks the public Declaration of Independence by the 13 founding colonies of the USA. This event in 1776 is regarded as the birth of the nation and has been celebrated since its first anniversary.

What is closed on the 4th of July?

On July 4, all federal institutions, post offices and banks are closed. Restaurants and stores are allowed to receive customers, but mostly operate with shorter hours. If the 4th of July falls on a weekend, the following Monday serves as a substitute day-off.

Is the 4th of July celebrated in Canada?

Canadians do not have an Independence Day in the strict sense of the word. However, they celebrate Canada Day on July 1. This date in 1867 marks the time when Canada became an official state of the Commonwealth.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President”: Every year in February, Americans commemorate their most popular Commanders-in-Chief – first and foremost, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. All other presidents, however, can also feel honored on this special occasion.

Presidents Day is accompanied by many events like parades, historical reenactments and festivities that serve to keep the memory of past presidents alive. In addition, shops all over the country offer amazing bargains during their Presidents Day Sales.

In this article, you will learn more about the origins of Presidents Day, which places are perfect for a family trip, and what you should know about opening hours on this holiday.

Presidents Day – History and Meaning

The history of this holiday goes back to the first US President George Washington, who was born on February 22 1732. Even during his lifetime, this American leader enjoyed almost religious veneration. Thus, it came as no surprise when his birthday was declared a federal holiday in the year 1879, making George Washington the first historical person with his own day of remembrance.

It should, however, take almost 100 years until this event turned into Presidents Day as we know it today. The date, in particular, was a matter of debate: On February 12, another famous US President, Abraham Lincoln, was born, and there were initiatives to combine both birthdays to one holiday.

This happened through the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill of 1968, which moved a number of holidays to a Monday. Under Richard Nixon, Washington’s Birthday was renamed Presidents Day – a reminder that not only Washington and Lincoln, but all US Presidents were to be honored on this day. The name soon caught on, especially when business owners started using it to advertise their special sales and offers.

However, not all Americans were happy about the “new” Presidents Day. Some did not like the idea of honoring larger-than-life figures like Washington and Lincoln alongside less popular presidents. At the moment, though, there are no plans in the USA to change this holiday.

Presidents Day – Festivities

Just like Independence Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Presidents Day is accompanied by a number of patriotic festivities – among them:

Parades and Reenactments

Festive parades are a main element of Presidents Day. The oldest parade takes place in Alexandra, Virginia – the birthplace of George Washington. At this event, you can even see the famous US President as he rides by on a horse carriage. Another worthwhile-spot is Washington’s Birthplace in Mount Vernon, where visitors can see historical uniforms and learn more about this famous figure on Presidents Day.

Washington’s birthday is also celebrated in Eustis, Florida. Here, you can enjoy concerts, parades, a funfair and firework at the famous GeorgeFest. Of course, the long weekend lends itself to outdoor activities in the Sunshine State: among them, football games, the Miami International Boat Show, and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Family Celebrations

Even though Presidents Day is not observed as broadly as Thanksgiving and Christmas, many Americans use the day-off to spend time with their families. Trips to historical sites like the Washington Monument or Mount Rushmore are popular on this day, and patriotic families might read “Washington’s Farewell Address”, the President’s final speech to his countrymen. Others send family letters, for example, in the form of Presidents Day E-Cards. There is even a typical Presidents Day dish: cherry pie, the favorite dessert of George Washington

Presidents Day Sales

Most stores are open on Presidents Day. And not only that: They also attract customers with a variety of special offers. Mattresses, for example, can be had for a fraction of the price – just like household wares and kitchen appliances. Depending on the store, you can enjoy discounts of up to 60 %. Are you looking for clothes, shoes or toys? Then, we recommend Kohl´s Presidents Day Sales, one of the most famous shopping events of its kind. At the retail giant Walmart, customers get 30 % off selected items, and Best Buy is the ideal place for fairly-priced electronics. By the way: You can take your time, as most stores operate with longer hours on this holiday. Or just shop from the comfort of your home and choose the best offers online.

In addition, Presidents Day is a popular day for car sales. Many dealerships offer discounts on automobiles to boost sales at the beginning of the year – and no: A “Lincoln” is not the only brand you can purchase on Presidents Day…

Presidents Day – Date

Presidents Day takes place on the third Monday in February. This date was set by the US government and is valid in all states. Depending on the year, the holiday falls between February 15 und February 21.

Here are some Presidents Day dates for past and future years:

  • Presidents Day 2020: February 17
  • Presidents Day 2021: February 15
  • Presidents Day 2022: February 21
  • Presidents Day 2023: February 20
  • Presidents Day 2024: February 19.

Fun Fact: As we said, Presidents Day is dedicated to all Presidents – which can even be seen in the date. Even though it is a movable holiday, Presidents Day never falls on the birthday of a particular Commander-in-Chief. George Washington, for example, was born on February 22 – one day too late – while Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is four days too early.

Presidents Day – Opening Hours

Presidents Day is a federal holiday, which means that government employees get this day off and government offices are closed. The same applies to post offices, banks and the stock exchange. Many schools do not have lessons on that day– or replace them with American history projects. Shops and restaurants can decide for themselves whether they want to open. Most of them, however, celebrate the fact that customers have a day-off with special sales and offers.

Of course, you can use public transport on Presidents Day. Most bus and train lines follow their Saturday schedule and operate more frequently than on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Motorists should note that many Americans visit their families on the long Presidents Day weekend. This often leads to traffic jams on the highways.

Presidents Day – best Movies

Not all states feature outdoor-weather in February – so what better way to celebrate Presidents Day than with a patriotic movie night at home?

Luckily, there are a lot of flicks for you to choose from. If you want to learn more about the life of Abraham Lincoln, we can recommend the Spielberg movie “Lincoln” released in 2012. Patriotic action fans cannot go wrong with “Air Force One”, and if you want to laugh and be scared at the same time, you should watch the horror comedy “Presidents Day”. The thriller “The Ides of March” shows the dark side of the US presidency, while “Jackie” pays tribute to the wife of John F. Kennedy – one of the most beloved First Ladies in history.

Presidents Day FAQ – Frequently asked Questions

What is Presidents Day?

Originally, Presidents Day dates back to George Washington’s birthday. Today, however, it is celebrated in honor of all Presidents. As a federal holiday, it is observed in all states of the US.

When is Presidents Day?

The official date of Presidents Day is the third Monday in February. This means that, depending on the year, it takes place between the 15th and 21st day of this month.

What is closed on Presidents Day?

On Presidents Day, all non-essential government buildings, banks, post offices and many schools are closed. Most restaurants and stores stay open, though.

What can I do on Presidents Day?

Traditionally, Presidents Day is celebrated with parades and historical customers. Other festivities include fireworks and events at memorial sites and museums.

When do Presidents Day Sales start?

On Presidents Day and the days leading up to it, many stores in the USA offer special sales. Some of these start as early as 2 weeks before the holiday and are also available online.