How to celebrate in the usa? – the americans and their holidays

Let’s celebrate. You should celebrate the holidays as they fall, or something like that. Americans love these days of honor and often celebrate them extensively. Some of them are already so special that we have adopted them here in Germany. And other days are political or rooted in the history of the USA. But some of them we have here too, but commit them a bit differently. Here we list ten holidays and one highlight that you can celebrate in the USA, because at AIFS we also like to toast:


1. New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is the first day in the calendar and corresponds to our New Year’s Day. The american title just sounds much more romantic. The customs for the New Year are similar to ours. Americans also celebrate from New Year’s Eve, 31. December, into the new year. Of course often with a big party. A popular place to do this is Times Square in New York, for example. There are a lot of people gathering at midnight. Americans also have lucky symbols like the four-leaf clover to start the new year on a positive note, and toast themselves at midnight to.

2. Martin Luther King Day

"I have a dream", Martin Luther King once said. This sentence made him famous, although of course he has uttered other clever phrases as well. But this one has remained in the memory. Martin Luther King was a pioneer of equal rights in America. He fought in the 1960s to abolish the segregation of the white population and the Afro-Americans. In 1968 he was murdered in an assassination attempt. Not only in America King became an important voice for equality. And on the third Monday in January is celebrated since 1983 in his memory this day.

Martin Luther King

3. President’s Day

This day is almost unknown in Germany. Because it does not affect us here and is not as famous as, for example, Independence Day.

The USA honors all its presidents on the third Monday in February. Originally this holiday fell on 22. February, George Washington’s birthday and was also called simply Washington’s Day for a long time. In February, some US states also celebrated the birthday of former President Abraham Lincoln. But at some point, the U.S. Congress decided to celebrate a single day of honor for all presidents. Washington’s Day became President’s Day and is still celebrated in February.

George Washington was the first president of the USA after the war of independence against Great Britain from 1775 to 1783. Until then, America was still co-governed by the British. The American states, however, wanted to be independent and liberated themselves. America then formed its own political system and government with a new president, George Washington. A few years later, from 1861 to 1865, the United States went to war again, the Civil War. The Northern and Southern states had economic differences and fought each other to the utmost, especially over the issue of the liberation of the Slavs. One of the triggers was the election of Northerner and anti-slavery Abraham Lincoln as president. In the end, the Northern states won the conflict and slavery was largely abolished.

Mount Rushmore - President

4. Memorial Day

It may be that we have heard the name of this holiday in Germany before, but not necessarily. Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day simply means "day of remembrance" and that’s what it is. It is a holiday to commemorate the American soldiers who died in the war. There is this day already very long in the history of the USA, already after the American civil war such a commemoration day was introduced. The U.S. flag is flown at half-mast until noon, and military cemeteries and memorials are traditionally visited. The USA are very patriotic and so also national cemeteries are decorated with small flags. Many Americans used this day also for a picnic in the park, because usually it is already quite warm in May and the summer knocks at the door.

Memorial Day

5. Independence Day

Not least since the film of the same name by Roland Emmerich with Will Smith, we outside the USA also know the 4. July, the national holiday of the Americans. On this special day they celebrate their independence from Great Britain. It is to commemorate the ratification, i.e. the granting, of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America on 4. July 1776 commemorate. The former 13 colonies at that time became the USA. Americans love their country and are patriotic, so Independence Day is celebrated with great festivities. Fireworks, parades, picnics and decorations in the American national colors, red, white and blue, are the widespread traditions. Celebrations everywhere.

Independence Day American flag

6. Labor Day

Labor Day is not only celebrated in the USA, we Germans also have such a holiday. In our country it is the 1. May and in the USA it is the first Monday in September. The day is since 1894 a legal holiday in the USA. In the late 19. In the nineteenth century, labor movements and unions formed in America and fought for workers’ rights. These rights should not be forgotten, so every year they are remembered. It is usually the last weekend in America to enjoy the summer. So often beaches or outdoor destinations are also well attended.

7. Columbus Day

As the name suggests, it commemorates the discovery of the New World, or America, on 12. October 1492 celebrated by Christopher Columbus. The day is once a year on the second Monday in October. In 1892, then-President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed the day as an official holiday and intended to unite all nationalities of the United States under one flag on this holiday. But not all states recognized him, only since 1934 Columbus Day is considered a national holiday.

8. Veterans Day

The former soldiers, the veterans, will be celebrated here on 11. November honored for their military service. The 11. November 1918 was the day of the first armistice in the First World War. In the further course of the development of the USA there were still many following veterans from different later wars, which are to be reminded on this day. This is how Veterans Day commemorates all war veterans today. Veterans Day is a complement to Memorial Day, which takes place in May. There are parades of war veterans associations or other special celebrations. The President and other government officials officially lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of all soldiers. In other Commonwealth countries, this day is also called Remembrance Day.

Veterans Day

9. Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is similar to our harvest festival. In the USA, however, it is a much more important and significant holiday. It is celebrated much more extensively and has some fixed traditions like the symbolic turkey. In addition, there are a lot of other delicious dishes. Cornbread, cranberries, a certain turkey stuffing, corn on the cob, potatoes of all varieties, sweet potatoes, gravy, vegetables, etc. There is simply a lot served up. There are also many good souls in the USA who help out in homeless kitchens before their own family dinners. So even the poorer people can sit and eat something together.

Thanksgiving is often celebrated in a big way with the whole family on the fourth Thursday of November. It is the last major and official holiday before Christmas in America. Commemorating the work of the Pilgrim Fathers several centuries ago who first settled the Americas, the day aims to show gratitude. Already in the 16. It is said that the first Thanksgiving celebrations took place in the nineteenth century.

However, it should also be mentioned that Thanksgiving is also seen as controversial. This is the case for at least some Native Americans. The settlement of the USA by the new immigrants did not bring only advantages for the indigenous population. Battles and conflicts marked the development in those times. That’s why there are discussions at Thanksgiving.


10. Christmas

Unlike in Germany, the Americans do not celebrate their Christmas on the 24th. December, that is, on Christmas Eve, but not until the 25th. December. It is a tradition in many families that children get to open presents early that morning. The Christ Child does not play a decisive role in America, because the USA has many different religions and branches of Christianity. Instead of the Christ Child, the famous Santa Claus takes his place, which is celebrated here with St. Nicholas on 6. December is very similar.

According to legend, Santa Claus comes on the night of 25. December through the chimney. He then distributes gifts under the Christmas tree. Many children put him already in the evening a few cookies and a glass of milk ready. They want to reward him for traveling all the way from the North Pole to bring presents. His vehicle is described as a sleigh with a couple of reindeer. His most famous reindeer is Rudolf with the red glowing nose. Santa Claus is also the protagonist of many movies and series, which are of course especially popular at Christmas.

Similar to Thanksgiving, Christmas is celebrated with family and lots of food. This is also often the case with us Germans.

Santa Claus wish list

11. Special: Halloween

It’s basically not a real holiday where something is officially honored. But Halloween is actually an old custom that begins the night before All Saints’ Day on 1. November is celebrated. It goes back to customs of the Irish, who celebrated various pagan and Celtic customs since the Celtic period. The Irish immigrants brought some traditions with them. Since the 1990s, the Halloween custom spread, which originated from these various Irish customs. In Mexico, there is a very similar festivity on the night of 31. October to the 1. November: the Day of the Dead. In this country Halloween became famous by film and television and partly also taken over.

One of the most famous Halloween symbols is the pumpkin. It is cut out to make faces and serves as a decoration. Everything should be as creepy and scary as possible. That’s why many houses are decorated long before 31. October redecorated. Skeletons, spiders, fake blood, creepy monsters, everything is allowed. The day is also special for children. Everyone dresses up and the children get to go from house to house collecting candy. The motto is: trick or treat (Trick or Treat). Those who can’t give anything sweet could feel the revenge by having their house covered with toilet paper for example. Pranks are then allowed. Phew, so most prefer to have enough candy to distribute at home.


These are the ten most important holidays in the USA as an overview, not to forget of course the small Halloween Special. We wish you a lot of fun while celebrating. And if you also want to celebrate Thanksgiving or Independence Day in the USA, check out the possibilities with us.

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