Holidays and their history explained here
New Year's - January 1
From New York to Los Angeles and many points in between, fireworks are used to ring in the new year with noise and colors. The celebrations with fireworks are not limited to the United States, as some of the most beautiful displays of the past few new years celebrations have been in Paris, Sydney, Rome and other great foreign cities.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Third Monday in January
Possibly the world's most recognized civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
Groundhog Day - February 2
Thousands gather to Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania for the occasion, observed exclusively in North America.
Mardi Gras - 47 days before Easter
Though the French are credited with the birth of Mardi Gras in America, ancient Romans originated a holiday that served as the foundation for how Mardi Gras is celebrated in the States.
Chinese New Year - First full moon of the new year
The Chinese New Year dates back to 2600BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the zodiac. Japan, Korea and Vietnam also observe the Spring Festival which is a 15 day long celebration.
Valentine's Day - February 14
How did February 14 become a day for romance? Legend has it that during the third century, Valentine, who was a devout Christian, would perform marriages for young couples.
Presidents' Day - Third Monday in February
So when did Americans first acknowledge our Presidents with their own day? Presidents' Day dates back to our founding father and first U.S. President, George Washington.
St. Patrick's Day - March 17
This day has been observed in Ireland for thousands of years as a religious holiday. Boston first publicly celebrated St. Patrick's Day in the United States in 1737.
Easter - First Sunday after the full moon after the moon's Spring Equinox
Easter is the Christian celebration commemorating the resurrection of Christ, but as with many other Christian holidays, Easter has some roots in pagan celebrations.
April Fool's Day - April 1
April Fools Day originated in France in 1582, when the Gregorian Calendar replaced the Julian Calendar and New Year's day changed from April 1 to January 1.
Arbor Day - Last Friday in April
The origin of Arbor Day takes us back 152 years to Nebraska in America's Heartland.
Cinco De Mayo - May 5
Cinco de Mayo is frequently regarded as the Mexican equivalent of the United States 4th of July, however this is factually incorrect.
Mother's Day - Second Sunday in May
Believe it or not, Mother's Day is not a Hallmark-conceived holiday. Its roots actually trace back to Ancient Greece. Rhea, who was declared the Mother of the gods (Metros Theon) and men of Olympus, was honored during Spring Festivals.
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
The other great American holiday that has become one of family, picnics and fireworks is Memorial Day, not because of the nature of the celebration, but because of the time of year that the holiday is observed.
Flag Day - June 14
The concept of a specific day to annually recognize the American Flag came in 1885.
Father's Day - Third Sunday in June
Ironically it was the inspiration of a Mother's Day sermon that eventually led to the creation of Father's Day.
Independence Day - 4th of July - July 4
We celebrate Independence Day to commemorate that auspicious July 4th in 1776 when the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, formally declaring the independence of the American colonies from the United Kingdom.
Labor Day - First Monday in September
Celebrated the first weekend in September, some 2-3 weeks before the Autumnal Equinox marking the beginning of Fall, Labor Day is generally the last time families get together for outdoor fun and celebrations for the season.
Columbus Day - Second Monday in October
Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with discovering America on his first voyage in 1492.
Halloween - October 31
Just how did the Halloween holiday become such a fun occasion for kids and adults alike? To trace its history, you have to go back nearly 2000 years ago from its origin to today's celebration of tricks and treats.
Guy Fawkes - November 5
Strange as it may seem, the holiday commemorates the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and a band of Englishmen tried to blow up the British Houses of Parliament by placing barrels of gunpowder in the basement of the Parliament building.
Diwali - Fifteenth day of Kartika (October/November)
The word "diwali" means "rows of lighted lamps" or "array of lamps," and the celebration is often referred to as the "Festival of Lights"
Veterans Day - November 11
The annual recognition of Veterans Day on November 11 goes back to 1919, when it was referred to as Armistice Day.
Thanksgiving - Fourth Thursday in November
A group of sailors, in search of fortunes, set sail on the 'Mayflower' from Plymouth, England on September 6, 1620, along with two groups of passengers. These passengers of men, women, and children were considered separatists.
Pearl Harbor - December 7
On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we think of the brave men and women who died on that infamous day in 1941.
Hanukkah - 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev and celebrated for 8 days
Hanukkah, a Hebrew term meaning 'dedication', is reflective of the Jerusalem temple, located in the village of Modi'in, that was reacquired by Judah the Maccabee from King Antiochus IV of Syria.
Christmas - December 25
Originally, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ took place less than a century after his death. However, numerous seasonal traditions were celebrated centuries before the Christ Child was born.
Kwanzaa - December 26
Kwanzaa is a non-religious observation and focuses on the African-American view of community, culture, and family. 'Kwanzaa' is a derived Swahili term meaning 'first fruits'.