Let’s hear it for federal holidays! Why? Because you most likely have the day off because of them, especially if you work in a federal building such as the post office or the library. Federal holidays come straight from the top — only Congress can designate one. In fact, Congress has been in the holiday making game since 1870, when they created the idea of a federal holiday to standardize existing holiday practices “in every State of the Union.” And now years later, we’re able to celebrate over 36 federal holidays throughout the year.
Where did federal holidays come from?
Initially, Federal holidays were only applicable to federal employees within the District of Columbia. The first five congressionally assigned days were New Year's Day, George Washington's Birthday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. However, a few years later in 1885, the government finally decided to extend the benefits of the holidays to federal employees all across the country.
Now, in addition to the original four federal holidays, there are also days like Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 20 and Harvey Milk Day on May 22. What many folks don't know is two federal holidays were added and subsequently removed, "The Eighth"—which celebrated American victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and "Victory Day": the commemoration of victory against Japan.
From four original federal holidays—Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and New Year's Day—there are now ten, including more recent additions like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day.
What many folks don't know is two federal holidays were added and subsequently removed, "The Eigth"—which celebrated American victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and "Victory Day": the commemoration of victory against Japan.
How to submit a federal holiday
It's always possible that we're missing a day, or a new day was invented that went under our radar. If that's the case, keep us in-the-know! Click that "Submit A Holiday" button below and give us all the details about what day we're missing, what it celebrates, and how long it has been a federal holiday. Once we've received the full summary, we'll add it to our library of national and global holidays.