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Some General Comments on US Holidays

Is it a holiday or not? The following paragraphs might shed a little light on some mysteries apparent to some travelers to the US.

The President and Congress of the USA can legally designate holidays only for the District of Columbia and federal employees. Each state has jurisdiction over its holidays, which are designated by legislative enactment or executive proclamation. In practice, however, most states observe the federal legal holidays.

All holidays displayed are being calculated by our current formula, which we derive from the New Mexico Statutes 1978 Annotated, Article 5 "Public Holidays," as documented (c) 1978-1997 by the State of New Mexico and Michie, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. and Reed Elsvier Properties Inc.

No holidays are shown before 1783, the year of the signing of the final English-American peace in Paris, 03.09. The year at which a holiday is phased into our calendar is based upon our rough estimate and we conducted no research on the dates of law enactment and use only current law in our holiday algorithm. Some holidays had, in fact, been shifted back and forth a few times before settling in their current legal schedule. This happended sometimes only in recent years. For example, because the 26.12. had never been holiday until after the enactment of the current law, we show no Christmas holiday before 1970. This was the year following the enactment, by the New Mexico legislature, of the new law for holidays in years when they fall on a Sunday.

Because there is neither law nor uniform praxis on opening or closing times for businesses, the actual significance of holidays varies.

Highway traffic and airline bookings may become dense on generally observed holiday weekends.

To make advance reservations is advisable in many restaurants on the second Sunday in May, which is Mother's Day, not marked in our calendar.

On the holidays marked gray, businesses are generally open as on normal weekdays. There may be gatherings such as those of veteran groups on Veterans Day. Many offices of the national government and of state and local governments are closed and there is no mail delivery. Also major trading centers, banks, and some schools are closed.

The observance of George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthday has been combined to now being Presidents' Day.

Change to and from summer time: These two Sundays are marked peru brown in our calendars. Though these dates are the same across the North American continent, individual states may remain on Standard Time the year round. Only parts of Arizona, for example, change to Daylight Savings Time (DST).

Enjoy Traveling the USA!
And travel safely!