Originally,in ancient times,holidays were predominantly religious in character and linked to natural events such as the annual course of the sun or the phases of the moon.The word holiday ,in fact,is derived from holy day .Subsequently,secular holidays commemorating historical occasions or distinguished persons outnumbered holy days,although many ancient religious rituals and customs have been carried over into modern times and incorporated into both secular and religious observations.Today,the outstanding holiday is one of religious observance and abstention from normal work routines,taking place on Sunday for Christians,Friday for Muslims,and Saturday for Jews._1_
National holidays are set aside by official government proclamation to celebrate such occasions as the achievement of independence,the founding of the nation,the adoption of a constitution,the birthday of the ruler,or the national patron saint s day.
_2_ as such legal holidays-on which banks,schools,or other public institutions and most places of business are closed-are designated by legislative enactment or by executive proclamation.Congress and the president designate the legal holidays for the District of Columbia and the federal territories but are without power to declare national holidays.Independence Day and other holidays are observed on a national scale as a result of action by the calendar date and requests national observance,and the states then usually enact the necessary legislation.Federal statutes often specify certain days as holidays for purposes related to the legislation.
In order to give federal employees three-day weekends,a 1968 federal law made several changes in dates of holiday observances,effective in 1971:_3_Memorial Day,on the last Monday in May;Columbus Day,on the second Monday in October.Individual states later adopted these Monday holidays.
A number of states commemorate important events in their history.In Vermont,for example,the Battle of Bennington,fought in the American Revolution,is commemorated annually on August 16;_4_Patriot s Day,commemorating the first battle of the American Revolution,is celebrated on or about April 19 in Massachusetts and Maine;_5_
A.in Louisiana the Battle of New Orleans of the War of 1812 is commemorated on January 8;
B.The U.S.has no national holidays.
C.There are statutory holidays in the United States
D.Washington s Birthday now falls on the third Monday in February;
E.and several southern states celebrate a confederate Memorial Day on different days in the spring.
F.Holidays are days set for religious ceremonies or commemoration of special events.
G.In the U.S.,Sunday is not only a religious holiday but is also the only common-law holiday.
在古代，最初的假日主要以宗教为特色，与自然现象如每年的太阳运行过程或月相等相关。实际上， 假日 一词是由 圣日 这个词演变而来的。而在之后的岁月里，世俗假日如纪念历史事件或著名人物的次数远远超过了圣日，尽管许多古老的宗教仪式和习俗一直流传到现在，并且融于世俗和宗教仪式这两者之中。今天，具有突出特点的假日是宗教庆典和远离日常工作的日子：对于基督徒来说是星期日，穆斯林是星期五，犹太人则是星期六。在美国，星期日不仅是宗教节日而且还是惟一的习惯法定假日。