US Holidays

US Holidays 2024

Plan ahead for 2024’s federal and national holidays that will affect government offices, schools, banks, and post offices. The coming year features 12 government-recognized holidays, encompassing major national celebrations such as New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Two additional dates deserve special attention: the presidential inauguration, which occurs in January following an election year, and the upcoming leap day on February 29, 2024.

Familiarizing yourself with the 2024 national holiday schedule enables better planning for travel, extended weekends, and time off from work or school. These holidays offer chances to strengthen bonds with family and friends while commemorating our nation’s shared heritage, history, and values.

This guide provides essential information about each 2024 holiday, including its significance, who observes it, and some intriguing facts. Let’s explore the upcoming holidays to appreciate and celebrate throughout 2024.

Federal holidays are special days set by U.S. law. They honor important people or events. On these days, many government offices close. This includes courts, post offices, and national parks. Federal workers get paid for these days off, except some who must work.

Many other places close too, like banks and schools. These holidays let much of the country take a break together. Some holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, come from our culture or religion. Others remember key people or events in America’s history, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day or July 4th.

Many federal holidays are on Mondays. This gives people three-day weekends. Folks often use this time to:

  • Visit family
  • Travel
  • Relax

Federal holidays help bring the country together. They remind us of our history and what we believe in as Americans.”

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US Federal Holidays 2024

US Holidays 2024



Holiday Name




January 1

New Year’s Day


Celebration of the beginning of the new year.


January 15

Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Commemorates the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to civil rights.


February 19

Presidents’ Day


Honors all U.S. presidents, especially George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.


May 27

Memorial Day


Remembrance of those who have died serving in the United States Armed Forces.


July 4

Independence Day


Celebration of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.


September 2

Labor Day


Honors the American labor movement and its contributions to the development of the country.


October 14

Columbus Day


Commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492.


November 11

Veterans Day


Recognition of all military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.


November 28

Thanksgiving Day


Day of giving thanks for the harvest and blessings of the past year.


December 25

Christmas Day


Celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.


June 19



Commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the U.S.


What Do National Holidays Mean?

National holidays are special days set by the government. They honor important parts of American life, history, and beliefs. These holidays started as days off for government workers. Now, many people across the country celebrate them.

For example, Christmas and Thanksgiving began as government holidays but are now celebrated by most Americans. Other holidays remember important people or events in our country’s history, like Martin Luther King Jr. Day and July 4th.

National holidays help bring Americans together. They do this by:

  1. Giving us time to think about our country’s history
  2. Letting us celebrate as one nation
  3. Reminding us of what’s important to America

On these days, people often:

  • Get together with family
  • Learn about our history
  • Follow special traditions
  • Travel or relax

Whether we’re honoring leaders, remembering soldiers, or celebrating big moments in history, national holidays remind us what America stands for. They help us feel part of one big American family.

What Happens When a Holiday is on a Weekend?

When a holiday falls on a weekend, things can get a bit tricky. Here’s what usually happens:

For workers:

  • If the holiday is on Saturday, they often get Friday off.
  • If it’s on Sunday, they usually get Monday off.

For government places like courts or post offices:

  • They close on the actual holiday date, even if it’s a weekend.

For states and businesses:

  • Some follow what the federal government does.
  • Others stick to the actual holiday date.

This means:

  1. The day you celebrate might be different from the actual holiday date.
  2. Some people might have the day off when others don’t.
  3. Sometimes, you might end up with a long weekend if the holiday is near the weekend.

Remember, this can change depending on where you work or live. It’s always best to check with your workplace about holidays.

Significance of National Holidays and Commemorative Events in United States

New Year’s Day (January 1)

January 1st heralds the start of the calendar year, a globally recognized occasion symbolizing renewal and potential. This day inspires introspection, goal-setting, and optimism worldwide. Diverse cultural practices accompany the transition, from dazzling pyrotechnics to cherished culinary customs. In the United States, the iconic Times Square ball descent in New York City has become synonymous with the holiday. New Year’s Day embodies the spirit of new beginnings, inviting individuals to embrace the promise and opportunities of the coming year.

Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday of January)

This holiday honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a key leader in the fight for civil rights in America. Dr. King believed in making change without violence, guided by his religious beliefs and the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. The day reminds us to work for fair treatment of all people, no matter their background. Many people spend this day helping others in their community, which follows Dr. King’s example of making the world better through service.

Washington’s Birthday (Third Monday of February)

Often called ‘Presidents’ Day’, this holiday started as a way to honor George Washington, America’s first president. Now, it celebrates all U.S. presidents, old and new. On this day, many Americans think about their country’s history and its leaders. Stores often have big sales, and schools might teach special lessons about presidents. It’s a day to remember the people who have led our country.

Memorial Day (Last Monday of May)

Memorial Day is a day to remember people who died while serving in the U.S. military. It’s on the last Monday in May. The holiday started after the Civil War to honor soldiers who died on both sides. Now, people visit cemeteries and memorials to pay respect. Many put American flags on soldiers’ graves. While it’s a serious day, it’s also seen as the start of summer. Lots of people have cookouts and family get-togethers on this day.

Independence Day (July 4)

Also called the Fourth of July, this holiday celebrates when the United States became its own country in 1776. It marks the day America declared it was free from British rule. People across the country celebrate with fireworks, parades, and cookouts. Many wear or decorate with red, white, and blue – the colors of the American flag. It’s a day when Americans come together to celebrate their country’s history and freedoms.

Labor Day (First Monday of September)

Labor Day is a holiday that celebrates American workers and what they’ve done for the country. It started because workers wanted better job conditions and fewer work hours. The day honors how hard-working and strong American workers are. Many people see it as the end of summer. Folks often have picnics, watch parades, or just relax on this day.

Columbus Day (Second Monday of October)

This holiday marks when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas in 1492. Many Italian-Americans see it as a day to celebrate their heritage. It’s a day off for some workers. But not everyone likes this holiday. Some people think it ignores the bad things that happened to Native Americans when Europeans came. Because of this, some places now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead. This day focuses on the history and culture of Native Americans.

Veterans Day (November 11)

Veterans Day is a holiday to thank all people who served in the U.S. military. This includes those who are still alive and those who have died. It’s for anyone who served during war or peace times. It’s different from Memorial Day, which is only for those who died while serving. On Veterans Day, many towns have parades. People might have special meetings or take a moment of quiet to think about veterans. The day helps us remember how important veterans are and what they gave up for our country.

Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday of November)

Thanksgiving is a day when Americans get together with family and friends to say thanks for good things in their lives. It started long ago when the Pilgrims, some of the first Europeans in America, had a big meal to celebrate their first good crop. They shared this meal with Native Americans called the Wampanoag.

Now, people usually have a big dinner with foods like turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Many watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, which has big balloons and performers. Watching football games is also a common way to spend the day.

Thanksgiving is about being grateful and spending time with people you care about.

Christmas Day (December 25)

Christmas Day is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. However, in modern times, it has taken on a broader cultural significance, observed by both Christians and non-Christians around the world. Traditions include exchanging gifts, decorating  Christmas trees, attending church, and sharing meals with family and friends. The holiday is also known for its festive music, colorful lights, and emphasis on peace and goodwill.

Juneteenth (June 19)

Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates when slavery ended in America. The name comes from combining ‘June’ and ‘nineteenth.’

On June 19, 1865, soldiers came to Texas to tell people that slavery was over. This was two and a half years after President Lincoln had said all slaves were free. The news took a long time to reach everyone.

Today, people celebrate Juneteenth in many ways:

  • Having parades
  • Getting together with family
  • Having cookouts
  • Learning about African American history

It’s a day to think about the past, learn new things, and celebrate African American culture.

How People Observe Federal Holidays

Federal holidays in the U.S. are special days to remember important events or people in the country’s history. On these days, many government workers get the day off, and places like post offices close.

Different holidays have different ways of celebrating:

  • On July 4th (Independence Day), people have fireworks, cookouts, and parades.
  • On Memorial Day, many visit cemeteries to honor soldiers who died.
  • Labor Day celebrates workers, often with picnics and community events.
  • Veterans Day has ceremonies for people who served in the military.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day remembers Dr. King with marches and helping others.

Not everyone celebrates these holidays the same way. Some people have big parties, while others spend the day quietly. Some might just enjoy the day off.

Schools usually close on these days. Before a holiday, teachers might teach students about why the day is important.

These holidays help Americans think about their country’s history and values.

How Federal and State Holidays Differ

Federal holidays are set by the U.S. government for all states, but states don’t have to follow them. State holidays are chosen by each state and may not be celebrated everywhere.

Some examples:

  • Juneteenth started as a Texas holiday before becoming federal in 2021. It remembers when slaves in Texas were freed.
  • Massachusetts and Maine have Patriots’ Day for important battles in their history.
  • California celebrates Cesar Chavez Day for a civil rights leader.

State holidays often have local celebrations that mean a lot to people in that state. Federal holidays usually get more attention across the country.

Federal workers usually get time off for federal holidays. State workers often get state holidays off, but only in their state.

For businesses:

  • Many close or work less on federal holidays.
  • On state holidays, only businesses in that state might close.

These holidays show what’s important to the whole country or just to one area.

Wrapping Up

As we look ahead to 2024, it’s helpful to know about the big holidays in the U.S. These days affect when we work, when schools are closed, and when people travel. They also bring Americans together to celebrate our shared history and values.

We hope this guide helped you understand why each 2024 holiday is important and when it happens.

To help you plan, we’ve made a calendar with all the federal holidays and some other special days like Inauguration Day and Leap Day. You can use this to plan vacations, know when offices might be closed, and get ready for long weekends.

In 2024, take time to remember America’s history, think about important people and events, and enjoy these holidays with family and friends. These special days help bring our country together.


Do all states observe federal holidays? 

Federal holidays are recognized nationwide, but states can choose whether to observe them. For instance, Juneteenth is a federal holiday, but not all states may grant employees the day off.

Is mail delivered on federal holidays in 2024? 

The United States Postal Service (USPS) doesn’t deliver mail on federal holidays. Some package delivery services may operate on a limited schedule.

What’s the most recently added federal holiday? 

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, became a federal holiday in 2021, making it the most recent addition.

Are banks open on federal holidays? 

Most banks close on federal holidays. Some branches in retail stores might operate with limited hours.

Do private companies observe federal holidays? 

Private companies aren’t legally required to observe federal holidays, though many do. Company policy often dictates this, and some may offer holiday pay or time-and-a-half for employees working these days.

How are federal holidays observed when they fall on weekends? 

Saturday holidays are typically observed on the preceding Friday, while Sunday holidays are generally observed on the following Monday.

Do schools close for federal holidays? 

Public schools usually close, but private schools set their own schedules. Check with specific institutions for their holiday calendars.

How are federal employees compensated for working on federal holidays? 

Federal employees working on federal holidays typically receive holiday premium pay.

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