United States does not have national holidays. This implies that there are few days in a year that all businesses in US are halted and all employees receive a day off from work. It is always at the discretion of each American state to determine the calendar of its national holidays. Annual federal holidays which are observed by both the state and the local governments are nevertheless different from one state to another. All the federal holidays are commemorated on a Monday with a few exceptions such as Christmas, Independence, New Year, Veterans and Thanksgiving Day. There are a number of holidays in December in US namely: – the Pearl Harbor Day, the US National Guard Birthday, the Wright Brothers Day and Christmas are just a few, which are celebrated on 7th, 13th, 17th and 25th of December of every year respectively by either one or few or all states. This article briefly examines three of these December holidays.
Christmas was declared one of the federal holidays in USA in 1870. Christmas days are celebrated by most Christians all over the world. Although the bible does not state the exact date or month Jesus Christ was born but 25th of December is taken by many Christians as the birthday of Jesus Christ and for this very reason the day has become one of the most important holidays in the Christian calendar. The holidays are marked by church services or mass. Few weeks before and after Christmas, believers of Christian faith light candles and decorate evergreen bushes and trees to symbolize everlasting light and life.
Special meals are common features of this holiday. The special meals mainly consist of turkey and many other festive foods for family or friends coupled with exchange of gifts. Christmas December holidays though are never complete without the mythical Santa Claus who is dressed in red attire with white hair and beard. It is acknowledge by many that the much awaited holidays is Christmas which has recently increasingly become one of the most commercialized holidays, with quite a lot of people spending a huge amount of income in celebrating the December holidays. Other people also associate the day with charitable activities with a number of people using Christmas to raise or donate money or other non-cash materials like clothes, food, among others to the less privileged members of the society.
During these holidays, state corporations and offices, institutions like schools and businesses enterprises remain closed with very few exceptions. It is usually a time to take a break from work and most people opt to visit either friends or relatives in other towns during the holidays. With so many people traveling during these December holidays, congestions at the points of departures and entries like airports; railways or bus terminals are more often common. Public transit systems do not run on their regular schedules. In brief, public life is completely shut down.
The New Year’s Eves are not federal holidays but they are the mostly celebrated during December holidays by many American. These holidays are held in many cities drawing thousands of people across United States. The December holiday has been held yearly since 1907 with the exception of 1945. Public commemorations of the New Year Eve are popular with most people holding parties either at their homes or public places. Consumption of alcohol like wine and champagne is a major characteristic of these holidays.
The most outstanding aspect of this holiday is the ball drop made of crystal and electric lights in Times Square in Manhattan, New York City. The ball is placed on top of a pole which is twenty three meters high. The ball is lowered down the poll at exactly 11:59 pm on December 31 and rest at the bottom of the pole at exactly midnight. The New Year Event is broadcasted not only in United States but across the world by different media stations.
The New Year Eve holidays are held in different cities and towns across United States and each of these celebrations have unique types of the ball drop. Different types of objects depending on the local history or industry are either raised or lowered a minute before midnight. Most of these are objects like fruits, automobiles, and ping pong.
The Pearl Harbor Day
Pearl Harbor days is not among the federal holidays. These holidays are marked following the attack on the American Army and Navy base in Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December, 1941 by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The military attack left a devastating trail of destruction and massive loss of life not only to the Americans but also on the Japanese. It is estimated that more than two thousand Americans lost their lives while a thousand more were severely injured during the attack. Scores of Japanese servicemen too were killed, injured or captured. The attack which was aimed at preventing the US from increasing its military influence in the pacific ended up catastrophically and further escalated the World War II. The US termed the Pearl Harbor attack an act of aggression on its citizens and declared war on Japan. Later after the US declared war on Japan, German also declared war on the US. The end was the outbreak of the World War II.
In commemorating the Pearl Harbor December holidays, based on the president directive, the US national flag is flown at half-mast. In some states, memorial services are held in memory of those who died in the attack. Americans during this time display flags on their homes, government buildings including the White House. Most of the Pearl Harbor December holidays are marked by luncheons, wreath laying, keynote speeches and media documentaries on the Pearl Harbor attack. In memory of the attack, a memorial park was built in Pearl Harbor. The memorial which is known as the US servicemen Arizona Memorials was put up in memory of all the US Servicemen who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.
Here is a list of Holidays in December:
- The Pearl Harbour Day
- New years Eve
- World Aids Day
- Human Rights Day
- Boxing Day
- Forefathers Day