First introduced by Congress in 1885 when it was decided that federal employees should have certain days off from work, the list of US federal holidays eventually grew to the 10 days of historical significance that Americans now recognise.
And, to ensure that Americans get the chance to celebrate the holidays no matter what day they fall on, there are guidelines for celebrating.
Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed by federal employees on the previous Friday, whereas holidays that fall on Sunday are observed the following Monday.
On these days, non-essential federal government offices are closed and banks, post offices and schools may also be closed.
For employees in the private sector, federal holidays may or may not mean a day off - as companies cannot legally be required to observe the holiday. Fortunately, most employers will still give employees the day off on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas - or pay extra to employees working on the day.
These are the dates of the 2021 US federal holidays to mark on your calendar.
2021 federal holidays
New Year’s Day: Friday, January 1
Martin Luther King Jr Day: Monday, January 18
President’s Day: Monday, February 15
Memorial Day: Monday, May 31
Independence Day: Sunday, July 4
Independence Day (Observed): Monday, July 5
Labor Day: Monday, September 6
Columbus Day: Monday, October 11
Veterans' Day: Thursday, November 11
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 25
Christmas Day (observed): Friday, December 24
Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25
Other important days to note:
Valentine’s Day: Sunday, February 14
St Patrick’s Day: Wednesday, March 17
Good Friday: Friday, April 2
Easter: Sunday, April 4
Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 9
Father’s Day: Sunday, June 20
Halloween: Sunday, October 31
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