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Holidays in Canada and in the USA  

Holidays in Canada and in the USA

Canada Holidays
 Jan 1  New Year - Total Holiday
 Feb  Chinese New Year - It does not  fall on the same day every year
 Feb 14  Valentine's Day - not a Holiday
 Feb - 3rd Monday  Family Day - a statutory Holiday
 Mar or Apr - Friday  Good Friday - Total Holiday
 Mar or Apr - Monday  Easter Monday - a Statutory  Holiday except in BC
 Apr 1  April Fool's Day - not a hoiday
 May - 2nd Sunday  Mother's Day - See below
 May 24 or before on Monday  Victoria Day - Total Holiday - See Below
 Jun - 3rd Sunday  Father's Day
 Jul 1  Canada Day - Total Holiday
 Aug - 1st Monday  Civic Holiday - almost statutory, but not at every place (see below)
 Sep - 1st Monday  Labor Day - Total Holiday
 Sep - 1st Sunday after Labor Day  Grandparents' Day
 Oct  Yom Kippur - Jews Holiday
 Oct - 2nd Monday  Thanks Giving
 Oct 31  Halloween Day - not a Holiday
 Nov 11  Remembrance Day - a statutory Holiday
 Dec 25  Christmas Day - a statutory Holiday
 Dec  Boxing Day - a statutory Holiday

New Year Day in USA (Jan 1)

Valentine's Day in Canada and in USA (Feb 14) - Not a Holiday
Although there is no holiday on Valentine's Day, but it is celebrated both in Canada and in the USA with a great enthusiasm. Markets are filled with roses and Valentine's Day gifts - chocolate, jewelry, men's gifts etc.

Family Day in Canada (Feb, 3rd Monday)

Good Friday (Dates Vary) - Total Holiday

Easter Monday (Dates Vary) - Statutory Holiday in Canada

April Fool Day in Canada (Apr, 1st) - Not a Holiday

Mother's Day in Canada (May, 2nd Sunday)
The House of Representatives in May, 1913, unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the President, his Cabinet, members of Congress, and all officials of the federal government to wear a white carnation on Mother's Day.

What is the official flower for Mother's Day?
(1) Rose, (2) Carnation*, (3) Tulip, (4) Lily, (5) Orchid?

Victoria's Day in Canada (May 24 or before, on Monday)
Victoria Day is a National Holiday celebrated on the first Monday on or preceding May 24th in order to make it the first long weekend of the summer season. It was started before Confederation. 24th May is Victoria's actual birthday. It was first declared holiday in 1845. Victoria Day in Canada was changed to Empire Day, when enthusiasm for the British Empire was at a peak. Later known as Commonwealth Day. This day has been a national holiday in Canada since 1901, marking the beginning of the summer season in Canada when gardens are planted, summer resorts and parks are opened, and people open up their cottages.

Memorial Day in USA (May, Last Monday)

Canada Day in Canada (July 1)

Civic Holiday in Canada (Aug, 1st Monday)
The intent of the Civic Holiday is to "not work". In Canada Civic Holiday is in most cases the first Monday of August unless another civil or provincial holiday exists on a different date, in which case the local holiday is used. Civic Holiday in Canada is not statutory holiday. If an employer wants you to work, it is a work day.

What you will often find, however, is that its name Civic Holiday changes from province to province, and even amongst different regions within provinces in Canada. This tells us that Civic Holiday is not as important as some other holidays, but still it is celebrated as a statutory Canadian holiday.

Unlike in Canada, Civic Holiday in United States (US) is called Labor Day.

Labor Day in Canada (Sep, 1st Monday)
Total holiday

Grandparents' Day in USA (Sep, 1st Sunday after Labor Day)
The First Grandparent's Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1973. In 1978 the US Congress passed legislation proclaiming a National Grandparents Day. The month of September was chosen to signify the "autumn years" of life for this social holiday. That same year President Jimmy Carter officially proclaimed the 1st Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent's Day.

Thanksgiving in Canada (Oct, 2nd Monday)
In Canada, however, Thanksgiving day is on the 2nd Monday of October.

Halloween in Canada and in USA (Oct 31)
Is celebrated on October 31 is the evening of All Saints' Day. The word Halloween comes from medieval England's All Hallows' eve. Today customs are based on many non Christian hero's and popular children stars like Harry Potter, Superman, Batman, Yu-Gi-Oh and others, but Harry Potter is probably the most popular in last few years.

Witches and other evil spirits were believed to roam the earth on Halloween evening, playing tricks on human beings especially on kids. Bonfires were lit, offerings were made of dainty foods and sweets, and people would disguise themselves as one of the roaming spirits, to avoid demonic persecution. Survivals of these early practices can be found in countries of Celtic influence today, such as the United States where children go from door to door in costumes demanding “trick or treat” to receive candies and money lately, and because of that Halloween, after Christmas Holiday, has become the children's most favorite holiday.

Remembrance Day in Canada (Nov 11)
Is the day of poppies. For millions of Canadians the poppy has long been the flower of Remembrance. It originally was a reminder of the blood-red flower which grew in the fields where many Canadians died in a place called Flanders. It remains the flower of Remembrance. Remembrance Day is observed on November 11th and it is a statutory holiday throughout Canada.

Thanksgiving in USA (Nov, 4th Thursday)
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States and Canada commemorating the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony in 1621. After the American Revolution in USA, the first national Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by George Washington, was on November 26, 1789. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving the 3rd Thursday in November. Finally it was decided that Thanksgiving should fall on the 4th Thursday of November. In the USA, a very large parade is organized in many big cities in the morning. New York Parade is very famous.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the US chain store business Macy's. The tradition started in 1924 then (originally known as the Macy's Christmas Parade and later the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade) and was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.

Cyber Monday in USA - Monday After Thanksgiving Day - Shopping Day
It is not a holiday or any festival or anything else, but just a term coined to shop more, after the shopping of "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving Day of Thursday. This term, Cyber Monday, was coined by the, a part of the US Trade Association "National Retail Federation". The term was started on November 28, 2005, in a press release. Quickly it became the biggest shopping day of the year.

The other big shopping days in the USA is the previous Saturday and next day of Christmas day

Veterans' Day in USA (Nov 11)

Christmas Day - Both in Canada and in USA (Dec 25)
In the mid 19th century, Christmas began to acquire its associations with an increasingly secularized holiday of gift-giving and good cheer and it is practiced today even more. Christmas cards first appeared in 1850's.

Gifts at Christmas are primarily English tradition; elsewhere they are given at other times.
The Christmas tree was a tradition from the Middle Ages in Germany.
The crib with the scene at Bethlehem was popularized by the Franciscans during the Christmas Holidays.
The midnight service on Christmas Eve is a popular religious observance in the Roman Catholic Church, and some Protestant churches during Christmas Holidays.

Boxing Day in Canada (Dec 26)
Comes one day after Catholic Christmas holiday. The Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is better known as Boxing Day. In many families, gifts (boxes) are given to those who provide services throughout the year. Boxing Day is listed in the Canada Labor Code as a holiday. Boxing Day is celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. In other countries this holiday exists as well but may be called by different name.

What is common is that in large households, the family may have used this day to distribute Christmas boxes to their staff and perhaps poor families. Many stores have gifts and items on sale and that way through shopping offer their offerings. It is well known shopping day both in Canada and in the USA anyway.


USA Holidays
 Jan 1st  New Year (Official Federal Holiday)
 Jan - 3rd Monday  Martin Luther's Birthday (National Holiday)
 Feb - 3rd Monday  President's Day - George Washington's Bifrthday
 Mar or Apr - Friday  Good Friday
 Mar or Apr - Sunday  Easter Sunday
 May 6  Furlough Day - Offices closed (Michigan)
 May - 3rd Monday  Mother's Day
 May - Last Monday  Memorial Day
 July 4th  Independence Day
 Sep - 1st Monday  Labor Day Weekend
 Oct - 2nd Monday  Columbus Day (came on 12th Oct)
 Nov 11  Veteran's Day (Official Federal Holiday)
 Nov - 4th Thursday  Thanks Giving Day (see above)
 Dec 25  Christmas Holiday (Official Federal Holiday)

Highlights of US Holidays - Called Traditions
There are some special highlights of US holidays --

January 1 - New Year - Complete Holiday
(1) Rose Parade, in Pasadena, California - in 2013 this Parade was 124th.
(2) Rose Bowl Football Game, in California, after the Rose Parade

February - 1st Sunday
(1) Super Bowl Match - the most watched match

November, 4th Thursday - Thanksgiving - Complete Holiday
(1) Parade by Macy, in New York, started in 1924
(2) Next day on Friday a great sale in all stores- called Black Friday sale
(3) Next day on Saturday Michigan and Ohio States Football Match

Website to Look for Various Calendars



Home | Canada | Holidays


Created by Sushma Gupta on 9/27/06
Updated on 05/13/13