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Is the 4th of July a national holiday?

Some 4th of July trivia..

By Bureaupat Jul 03 2011, 08:53 AM

Dear Bureaupat,

 

I heard on the news the other day that the 4th of July is not a national holiday and that we do not, in fact, have any national holidays in the United States. What the heck does that mean?

 

Dear Patriotic,

 

What you heard is true. There is no such thing as a “national” holiday in the United States of America and that is just how the founding fathers wanted it. Congress has no authority to establish holidays that the 50 states are required to observe, they can merely name “federal” holidays (meaning a day off) for employees of the federal government and the District of Columbia.

 

It is up to the individual states to determine their own holidays. Many follow the lead of the federal government. In fact, all 50 states do recognize Independence Day as an official holiday and most private sector employers follow suit and give the day off to their non-essential employees. So, it seems like a national holiday even though it technically isn’t.

 

States are also free to invent their own holidays.  Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day on June 11 to recognize the leader who united the separate islands.  Schoolchildren in Illinois get the first Monday in March off to honor Casmir Pulaski, a Polish hero of the American Revolution who never set foot in the state. Utah recognizes the arrival of Brigham Young and the other Mormons fleeing religious persecution on July 24, 1847 with Pioneer Day.

 

Some local governments even establish their own special holidays. Hence, Evacuation Day in Boston, which is theoretically a commemoration of some historical event but since it occurs on the day after St. Patrick’s Day is thought of by most as “sleeping-it-off” day.

 

The 4th of July as a holiday began before there even was a nation or federal government to speak of. Philadelphia recognized the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1777 with parades, fireworks, and other activities we still associate with the day. It was first recognized as an official holiday by Massachusetts, before the Revolutionary War had ended.

 

Interestingly, Congress didn’t make Independence Day a federal holiday until 1870 – but it was a day without pay until 1938 when Congress decided to throw federal employees a bone and make it a paid holiday. They also established that if the 4th falls on a Saturday, the day will be observed on Friday for workers on a Mon-Fri schedule and if it falls on a Sunday, it will be observed on Monday.

The only,

 

- Bureaupat

 

Read More: Pay And Benefits, Dear Bureaupat, News and Research

 
 
 
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COMMENT

Ryan
July 4, 2011 1:21 PM

Evacuation Day is March 17, the same day as St. Patrick's Day. Did actually bother to do any research?

OhMyGov
July 4, 2011 2:22 PM

Thanks Ryan! Evacuation day and St. Patrick's is on the same day...Bureaupat

 

          


 

 
 
 


 

 

 

 


 



  






 

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