The population of the USA is made up of people of different nationalities. Centuries ago they brought with them their native celebrations. Some holidays which are marked in the United States originated in America. The number of holidays is different in different states - from 8 in the District of Columbia to 20 in Oklahoma. But the most important holidays are celebrated throughout the USA. They are: New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. Here are a few words about them.
On New Year's Day people see the old year off and the New Year in. Most people stay up all night, even children. At midnight many people go outside and shout "Happy New Year"! Some people set off fireworks and blow automobile horns which are heard everywhere. Everybody exchanges presents and good wishes. Offices, factories, banks and stores do not work on this day.
Lincoln's birthday is celebrated every year on February 12. Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War (1861-1865). He led the fight to keep the nation together and to free the slaves. His life ended tragically. He was killed at the theatre during the performance soon after the victory of the North. In honour of this great man a beautiful memorial has been built in Washington.
Washington's Birthday is marked on February 22. George Washington led the American Army to victory in the War for Independence. Later he was elected President of the United States and was in office for 8 years. The national capital of United States, a state and several towns are named after George Washington.
One of the greatest holidays is Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. It proclaimed independence of thirteen British colonies from Great Britain. July 4 has become the greatest holiday since. In the past this day was marked with big parades and fireworks, but now it is celebrated more quietly. Cities and towns are decorated with flags on that day, there are parades on some places, but most people just go on picnics to the countryside.
Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. On this day workers make a public show with marches, meetings, etc. It also marks the beginning of school year and the end of summer.
Thanksgiving Day is marked on the fourth Thursday of November. On this day the Americans honour the memory of the first settlers. It also marks the end of the harvest season. It is a long-standing tradition to make a festive meal with a fried turkey on this day.
Christmas is a religious holiday which symbolized the birth of Jesus Christ. By this day people decorate fir trees with toys and candies. Children wait for Santa Claus who comes to every house and brings them presents. Before going to bed, children leave their shoes to find in them what they want most of all the next morning. Some people, especially young people, like to celebrate it in restaurants and cafes and pubs, but most people prefer to stay at home with their family on this day.