5 Important days and their significance you must know while in the USA

important days in the usa

The USA has a rich and diverse history which has shaped its present. Before you go out and about in the US, here are a few important dates that you must know –

15th January: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. is a hero in America, whose influence on the American society is tremendous. He was a humanitarian and social activist who worked for the African-American community in the United States. He encouraged the African-American community to fight for equality, albeit in a peaceful protest. To celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. President Ronald Reagan in 1983 signed a bill that established 15th January as the national holiday in the country. He is the only non-president to have a nationally observed holiday commemorated in his name. On this day, people of different cultural backgrounds come together to celebrate and remember the King and his contribution. People feed the hungry; perform service in prisons, shelters, hospitals, and wherever help is needed; rehabilitate housing and engage in other community service activities.St. Patric day

17th March: St. Patrick’s Day

Each year on March 17, the USA celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, which is, in fact, an Irish tradition. On this day, the Irish Americans in the USA remember Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland, and celebrate their heritage with parades, music, dancing, pub crawls, drinking and wearing green attire. The first celebration started in the Boston and New York in the early 19th century and later spread across the country. In the latter half of the 20th century, the non-Irish Americans also started to celebrate this day and it became a popular holiday.

4th July: Independence Day

Fourth of July marks the Independence Day of the United States, and each state celebrates in its own special way. It is the biggest summer holiday in the country. On this day in 1776, the thirteen colonies that made up America got freedom from the British Empire and declared the birth of a independence daynew country, the United States of America. People indulge in patriotic events, live music concerts, auto shows, fireworks, picnics, carnivals, cultural demonstrations, fairs, baseball games and colorful parades that are held across the United States.

31st October: Halloween

Halloween has its roots in the Celts in Ireland. It is considered to have evolved from one of the four pre-Christian Gaelic festivals – the pagan festival of Samhain that marks the end of harvest and start of the winter season. Tradition holds that, on this day, Samhain, the lord of death, lets the evil spirits return home to visit the living.

The Americans have wholeheartedly embraced this Celtic tradition of Halloween and celebrate it with unmatched enthusiasm. Decking out front yards with witches and ghouls, carving pumpkins into Jack-O’-Lanterns, costume parties, listening to ‘Monster Mash’, going trick-or-treating, losing yourself in the haunted corn mazes, cemetery tours and boozy revelry – that’s how this spooktacular holiday is celebrated in the USA on October 31, every year.thanksgiving day

Fourth Thursday of November: Thanksgiving

Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by cooking a giant feast to share with friends and family. It is essentially the celebration of a bountiful harvest. This day is based on the 1621 harvest feast shared by the Wampanoag people and the pilgrims of Plymouth. This day brings together everyone across the country, irrespective of the ethnic groups and what state people live in. People celebrate this day with their closest ones, have a feast and express gratitude.

The grand feast of Thanksgiving includes turkey, pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing and cranberry sauce. The food element of this holiday is perhaps different from the original historic thanksgiving, but it is something to be thankful for.

As an international student in the USA, it is essential to know about these festivals that Americans celebrate with great fervour and devotion to be able to bond with them and become a part of the American society and culture.

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