There are a total of 10 federal holidays in a U.S. calendar year. Other days of observance are not recognized on a federal level, and they celebrate people or important days in the nation's history.
January 1 is New Year's Day. It signifies the start of a new calendar year. The third Monday in January recognizes the birthday of civil-rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. The third Monday in February observes the birthday of the country's first president, George Washington. It is referred to as President's Day, and it is intended as a celebration of all past U.S. presidents.
Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. Initially it was meant to remember the casualties of the American Civil War, but it eventually became a day when American casualties of all wars are honored. Independence Day is July 4 in tribute to the signing of the nation's Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Labor Day is the first Monday in September. It is meant to honor the American labor force, and it also represents the end of the summer and beginning of a new school year. The second Monday in October is known as Columbus Day, and it honors the discovery of the Western Hemisphere by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus.
November 11 is Veterans Day, a holiday that honors all U.S. veterans of war. Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Monday in November in honor of the Mayflower Pilgrims' plentiful fall harvest of 1621. December 25 is Christmas Day. It is a Christian holiday that marks the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. There are several other non-federal holidays, such as Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May and Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day on December 7. Different religious groups also set aside days of celebration. Jews acknowledge high holy days in the month of September, and Muslims celebrate Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.