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Universi of South Brittany ity Natio School o Engineers of South Br onal of s rittany

 

R Report Abou ut:
 

Ameri Holidays ican Ho s

      By: AL ECHCHE IKH EL ALA A AOUI Adnan ne S Supervised by: Mrs L LOUEDEC Claire C

A August, 2011 1.
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Table of content
    1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  Introduction  ...................................................................................................................................... 3  . Martin Luther King Day ................................................................................................................... 4  Washington's Birthday (Presidents' Day) ........................................................................................ 5  Memorial Day .................................................................................................................................... 5  Independence Day (July 4) ............................................................................................................... 6  Labor Day........................................................................................................................................... 6  Columbus Day ................................................................................................................................... 7  Veterans Day ..................................................................................................................................... 7  Thanksgiving ..................................................................................................................................... 7 

10.   Christmas ........................................................................................................................................... 8  11.   Other Celebrations ............................................................................................................................ 9  12.   Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... 10  13.   Bibliography  .................................................................................................................................... 10  .

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Word of gratitude
I would like to thank all the people who helped me during that intern-ship course, especially my English teacher Mrs LOUEDEC Claire and the Polyglot Language Centre who helped to improve my communication skills. 1. Introduction American Holidays is an introductory survey of the historical and social background of American holidays. People in every culture celebrate holidays. Although the word "holiday" literally means "holy day," most American holidays are not religious, but commemorative in nature and origin. Because the nation is blessed with rich ethnic heritage it is possible to trace some of the American holidays to diverse cultural sources and traditions, but all holidays have taken on a distinctively American flavor. In the United States, the word "holiday" is synonymous with "celebration! » In the strict sense, there are no federal (national) holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its holidays. In practice, however, most states observe the federal ("legal or public ") holidays, even though the President and Congress can legally designate holidays only for federal government employees. The following ten holidays per year are proclaimed by the federal government. New Year's Day Martin Luther King Day Washington's Birthday Memorial Day Independence Day Labor Day Columbus Day Veterans Day Thanksgiving Day Christmas Day January 1 third Monday in January third Monday in February last Monday in May July 4 first Monday in September second Monday in October November 11 fourth Thursday in November December 25

In 1971, the dates of many federal holidays were officially moved to the nearest Monday by thenPresident Richard Nixon. There are five holidays which are not necessarily celebrated on Mondays: Thanksgiving Day, Veterans Day, New Year's Day, Independence Day and Christmas Day. When New Year's Day, Independence Day, or Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, the next day is also a holiday. When one of these holidays falls on a Saturday, the previous day is also a holiday. Federal government offices, including the post office, are always closed on all federal holidays. Schools and businesses close on major holidays like Independence Day and Christmas Day but may not always be closed, for example, on President's Day or Veterans Day.

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Federal holidays are observed according to the legislat e a o tion of indiv vidual states The dates of these s. holidays and other are decid upon by each state governmen not by th federal (n s, rs, ded y nt, he national) governm ment. Each s state can ag gree on the same date that the Pre t esident has proclaimed, such as Thanksg giving Day. State legisl lation can a also change the date of a holiday for its own special f n commem moration. C Cities and to owns can d decide not to celebrate a federal l t legal holida at all. ay Howeve the major of the st er, rity tates (and th cities and towns withi them) usu he in ually choose the date e or day c celebrated by the rest of the nation . There are other "legal" or "public" holidays which are y f " w observed at the stat or local level. The c d te l closing of lo ocal governm ment offices and busine esses will vary. W Whether citizens have the day off fro work or not depends on local dec e om n cisions. 2. M Martin Luth King Day her y The Rev verend Dr. M Martin Luth King, Jr. was a black clergyman who her w is ranke among t ed the greatest of black Americans because of his t f crusade to win full civil rights for his peop Preachin nonviole ple. ng ence, much in the same way as ha Mahatma Gandhi of India, Ma n ad a o artin Luther King, Jr. sp poke and ca ampaigned t tirelessly to rid the Un nited States of traditions a laws tha forced on black Amer f and at n ricans the st tatus of secon nd-class citiz zens. Among these laws were those in some st g s e tates which r required bla people to take bac seats in buses or wh ack ck hich obstruct voting by blacks. ted y In the l late 1950s and early 1960s, Afric 1 can America ans, led by Dr. Martin L Luther King Jr., used bo g, oycotts, mar rches, and other forms of nonviolen protest to demand o o nt o equal tr reatment un nder the law and an en to racial prejudice. A high poin of this civ rights w nd nt vil moveme came on August 28, 1963, when more than 200,000 peo of all rac gathered in front ent n ople ces d of the L Lincoln Mem morial in Wa ashington, D D.C., to hear King say: "I have a dre r eam that on day on ne the red hills of Georgia the son of former slaves and the sons of former slave ns t f eholders wil be able ll to sit do own together at the tabl of brother le rhood....I ha a dream that my fou little child ave ur dren will one day live in a n y nation wher they will not be jud re dged by the color of th heir skin, bu by the ut content of their cha aracter." Not long afterwards the U.S. Co g s ongress passe laws proh ed hibiting disc crimination i voting, ed in ducation, employm ment, housin and pub accomm ng, blic modations. The world was shocked when Dr. King was w K assassina ated in 1968 Ever since special m 8. e, memorial serv vices have marked his b m birthday on January n 15. By v vote of Cong gress, the th hird Monday of every Ja y anuary, begi inning in 19 986, is now a federal holiday in Dr. King' honor. 's

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3. W Washington Birthday (Presidents' Day) n's Accordin to the fe ng ederal gover rnment, the holiday obs served on th he third M Monday in Fe ebruary is officially Wa o ashington's Birthday. But many A Americans be elieve that th holiday i now calle "President his is ed ts' Day," in honor of b n both Preside ents Washin ngton and Li incoln, whose birthday are Feb. 22 and Feb. 12, respectiv ys 1 vely. In 1968, Congress p passed the Monday Hol M lidays Act, which move w ed the offic observan of Wash cial nce hington's birt thday from Feb. 22 to th he third M Monday in Fe ebruary. Som reformer had want to chang me rs ted ge the nam of the hol me liday as well, to Presiden Day, in honor of bot nts' h th Lincoln and Wash hington, bu that pro ut oposal was rejected by b Congres and the holiday remained officially Washington ss, n's Portrait o George of Birthday y. Washing gton. Published : c1828 by Created/P But in 1971, when the Act went into effect, Pre n esident Nixo on Pendleto Lithogra on's aphy. proclaim the holi med iday as Presi idents' Day, to commem morate all pa ast Housed i the Prints and in s presiden not just Lincoln an Washingt nts, nd ton. This id was never dea Photogra aphs Division of the intended or authori d ized by Cong gress; nevert rtheless, it ga ained a stron ng Library o Congress of hold on the public c consciousnes ss. Althoug some state do celebr Presiden Day as a state holida it has ne gh es rate nts' ay, ever been recognized at the fe ederal level. On the nati ional level, t third Mo the onday of February is the official ob he bservance of Wash hington's Bir rthday. 4. Memorial D Day

This hol liday, on the last Monda of every May, is a da on which e ay ay h America honor th dead. Or ans he riginally a d on whic flags and day ch d flowers were place on grav of soldi ed ves iers who died in the d e America Civil War it has beco an r, ome a day o which the dead of all on e l wars and all other d d dead are rem membered the same way. e . In 1971 along wi other holidays, Pre 1, ith esident Rich hard Nixon n declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in d n May. C Cities all a around the United St tates hold their own n ceremon on the l Monday in May to pay respect to the men and wome who have died in nies last y t n en e wars or in the serv vice of their country. I many communities, special cere r In emonies are held in e cemeter or at mo ries onuments for the war de by veter ead rans of milit tary services Some hold parades s. d and oth hers hold m memorial ser rvices or sp pecial progr rams in chu urches, scho ools or othe public er meeting places. Me g emorial Day is not lim y mited to hon only tho America from th armed nor ose ans he forces. I is also a da for personal rememb It ay brance. Fami ilies and ind dividuals hon the mem nor mories of their lov ones wh have died Church ser ved ho d. rvices, visits to the cemetery, flowe on graves or even s ers s silent tribute mark the day with dignity an solemnity On Memo nd y. orial Day, th President or Vice he t Presiden of the Un nt nited States gives a spe eech and lay a wreath on the tom ys mbs. Members of the armed fo forces shoot a rifle salut in the air . Veterans and families come to lay their own wreaths te a y n and say prayers. It is a day of reflection. H However, to many Am o mericans the day also sig gnals the

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beginnin of summ with a th ng mer hree-day we eekend to spend at the beach, in t mounta s e the ains or at home re elaxing. 5. I Independen Day (July 4) nce y Indepen ndence Day is regarded as the bir y d rthday of th United he States as a free and independen nation. M s nt Most America simply ans call it th "Fourth of July," on which date it always falls he f w t s. The ho oliday reca alls the si igning of the Decla aration of Indepen ndence on Ju 4, 1776. At that time the people of the 13 uly A e, e British c colonies located along the eastern coast of wh is now t hat the Uni ited States were invol lved in a w over what they war w consider red unjust treatment by the kin and parli b ng iament in Britain. The war b began in 17 775. As the war conti e inued, the colonists realized t s that they were fightin not just for better w ng treatmen they were fighting for freedom from Engla nt; f m and's rule. The Dec claration of Independence, signed by leaders from the f d colonies stated this clearly, an for the fi time in an official A display of f s, s nd irst A fireworks  the  documen the colon were re nt nies eferred to as the United States of illuminates t s d s e Statue of Liberty as  America It is a day of picnics and patriot parades, a night of sky near the  a. y tic s ersey City, N.J. on  concerts and firewo s orks. The fly ying of the A American fl (which seen from Je lag J .  also occu on Mem urs morial Day and other ho a olidays) is widespread. July 4, 2004. w On July 4, 1976, the 200th ann e niversary of t Declarat the tion of Independence w marked by grand was b festivals across the n nation. 6. L Labor Day This holiday, which always is observed o the first Monday of September has been a federal h on f r holiday since 1894, but was observed in som places be me efore that day as a result of a campai by an t ign early or rganization o workers called the K of Knights of Labor. Its purpose is to honor the nation's L o working people. In many cities the day is m g s marked by parades of working peo p w ople represen nting the labor un nions. Most Am mericans consider Labo Day the e of the su or end ummer, and the beache and other popular d es r resort ar reas are pac cked with people enjoy ying one last three-day weekend. F many stu t For udents it marks th opening o the school year. he of

Labor Day New  York 1882

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7. C Columbus D Day This day commem y morates Italia navigato Christoph Columb an or her bus' landing in the New World on October 12, 1492. Most nations of the w O t America observe t as this holiday on Octobe 12, but in the Unit y er ted States, a annual obse ervances tak place on the secon Monday in ke n nd October The major celebration of the day takes place in New Yo r. r n y e ork City, wh hich holds a huge parade each year. e 8. V Veterans Da ay Original called A lly Armistice Da this holid was est ay, day tablished to honor America who had served in World War I It falls on November 11, the ans d W I. 1 day whe that war ended in 1918, but it no honors veterans of al wars en ow v ll in which the United States has fought. h d f Veteran organizat ns' tions hold parades or o p other special ceremonie and l es, the president custom marily places a wreath o the Tomb of the Unknowns on b at Arlin ngton Natio onal Cemet tery, across the Poto s omac River from Washing gton, D.C. 9. T Thanksgivin ng Phot to courtesy of the  Defe ense Visual  Info rmation Cen nter

Thanksg giving Day is the fourth Thursda in Nove ay ember, but many America take a d of vacati on the f ans day ion following Friday to ma a four-d weekend during ake day d, which th may trav long dist hey vel tances to vis family and friends. sit The holiday dates b back to 1621 the year a 1, after the Pur ritans arrive in Massac ed chusetts, det termined to pract tice their dis ssenting reli igion withou interference. After a rough win ut nter, in whic about ch half of t them died, t they turned for help to neighborin Indians, who taught them how to plant d o ng t corn and other cro ops. The nex fall's boun xt ntiful harve inspired the Pilgrim to give th est ms hanks by holding a feast.The Thanksgivi feast bec ing came a natio onal traditio -- not on because so many on nly other Am mericans ha found pr ave rosperity bu also becau the Pilgr ut use rims' sacrific for their freedom ces still capt tivate the im magination. To this day, Thanksgiving dinner alm T g most always includes som of the fo me oods served at the first feast: roast turkey, t t cra anberry sauc potatoes, pumpkin p Before the meal ce, , pie. t beg gins, familie or friends usually pau to give th es use hanks for the blessings including the joy of b eir s, being united for the d occ casion.

Photo  b Patricia  W by  Walsh  for  the  U.S.  t Census B Bureau
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10. C Christmas Christm is a most important religious ho day for Christians, mas t oly C who atte special c end church servi ices to celeb brate the bir of Jesus rth of Nazar reth. Christm is not onl a religious holy day, b became one of the mas ly but first fed deral holiday in 1870. On this day most busin ys y nesses and offices remain closed and th greatest possible number of he n workers including governmen employee have the day off. s, nt es, e Many pl laces even cl lose early on the day bef n fore. Naturall Christian observe Christmas according to the ly ns s g tradition of their particular chu ns urch. Beside the strictly religious es y tradition however, other co ns, ommon Chr ristmas pra actices are observed by peopl who are not religio d le ous or who are not 2004 Capitoll Christmas T o 2 Tree Christian In this w n. way, some Christmas tra C aditions hav become ve America traditions an s. Gift-givi is so com ing mmon at Ch hristmas time that for most stores it means a sha increase in sales. e m arp e Stores, i fact, are fu of shopp from Th in full pers hanksgiving time in late November until the da before e ay Christm This situ mas. uation has ca aused many religious people to complain that th religious meaning he of Chris stmas is bein subverted that Chri stmas has become "com ng d, b mmercial." D Despite the criticism, c Christm shopping is a major activity of m mas g many Amer ricans in the month of December. Gifts are e given to children, m o members of the family and close fr riends. They are given to people who have y w done fav vors to others or who work for them Some people bake co w m. ookies or ma candies or other make special f food treats for friends and neighb bors. Many businesses give their w g workers a Christmas C "bonus" - gifts of ext money - to show app tra preciation fo their work. Christmas is also a tim when or s me most Am mericans sh how great ge enerosity to other less fortunate th they. T o han They send money to m hospitals or orphana s ages or contr ribute to fun that help the poor. nds p Most Americans send gree t s eting cards to their frien nds and fam mily at Chr ristmas tim Some me. peop who are friends or relatives and live ple e r great distances from each other may not be t y much in contact with each other durin year h t ng but will usually exchange greeting ca y ards and often a Christm letter t n mas telling their family news s. The decorating of homes fo Christma is very or as comm mon. Mos st America an who observe Holiday Shopper in N New York City.  Chris stmas have a Christmas tree in thei homes. ir Photo by y Heather Sc chmaedeke f for the U.S.  This may be a re evergreen tree or an artificial eal n Census B Bureau. one. In either case, the tre is decora c ee ated and trimmed with sma lights an ornamen d all nd nts. Other decorations such as lig d ghts and wr reaths of evergree and signs wishing a "Merry Chris en s stmas" can be found insi and outs b ide side of many homes. y
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11. O Other Celeb brations

Althoug the Unite States is young compa gh ed y ared to othe countries, er its cultu and trad ure ditions are rich becaus of the co se ontributions made by the many groups of people who h y have come to its shores t over the past two c e centuries. Hundreds of regional ho H olidays have originate from th geography, climate and histo ed he e ory of the different parts of th country. Each state ho t he E olds its own annual fair n r with loc themes and music; and some celebrate the day on cal ; t which th joined the Union an became a state. hey nd One oth day that most Ameri her icans observ even thou it is not ve, ugh an offici holiday, is February 14, Valentin Day, na ial ne's amed for an early Ch hristian mar rtyr whose feast day wa once obse f as erved on that day. On this day, Am mericans give spe ecial symbo olic gifts to people the love. The also send special gr ey ey greeting card called ds Valentin to such p nes people. Most commonly the gifts ar candy or flowers. t y, re f Other h holidays such as "Groun h ndhog Day" (February 2) are whim 2 msically obse erved, at lea in the ast media. T day is as The ssociated wi folklore w ith which has grown up in rural Ameri It is beli g ica. ieved, by some, if the groundhog, or woo f odchuck com out of its hole in the ground an sees its sh mes e nd hadow on that day it will become frighte y ened and jum back in. This means there will be at least six more mp s weeks of winter. If i doesn't see its shadow it will not be afraid an spring wil begin shor it e w, nd ll rtly. Flag Day is observed in the Uni y d ited States to commemorate the ado o option of the Stars and Stripes by e S the Continental Con ngress on Jun 14, 1777. ne .

US Flag g Day poster r 1917 

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12. Conclusion The United States does not have national holidays in the sense of days on which all employees in the U.S. receive a day free from work and all business is halted. The U.S. federal government can only recognize national holidays that pertain to its own employees; it is at the discretion of each state or local jurisdiction to determine official holiday schedules. There are eleven such federal holidays, ten annual and one quadrennial holiday. This is a list of National, Fun Days , Ethnic and Regional Celebrations of U.S: National Celebrations: New Year's Day (January 1) Martin Luther King Day (Third Monday in January) Abraham Lincoln's Birthday (February 12) Presidents' Day (Third Monday in February) George Washington's Birthday (February 22) Mother's Day (Second Sunday in May) Memorial Day(Last Monday in May) Flag Day (June 14) Father's Day (Third Sunday in June) Independence Day (July 4) Labor Day (First Monday in September) Columbus Day (Second Monday in October) Veterans' Day (November 11) Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November) Christmas Day (December 25)

Fun Days:  St. Valentine's Day (February 14) April Fool's Day (April 1) Halloween (October 31)    Ethnic and Regional Celebrations:  Chinese New Year (Sometime between January 21 ‐ February 19)  Mardi Gras (February/March)  St. Patrick's Day (March 17)  Cinco De Mayo(May 5)  Native American Pow‐Wows (March ‐ August) 

13. Bibliography http://www.statesymbolsusa.org http://usa.usembassy.de/ http://www.usa.gov/ http://en.wikipedia.org/
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