A holiday is a special day which may include celebrating, or simply staying home instead of working. The word is derived from the word holy. Most cultures have some holidays to help with the well being and positive attitude of their populace.
In the United States, some holidays are permanently set on a specific day of a specific week in the month (for example, Labor Day is always observed on the first Monday of September), while some are set of specific days (such as Independence Day which is always observed on July 4). In the case of a holiday falling on a specific day, if that day falls on a Saturday then the holiday is observed on the preceding Friday (e.g. if July 4 is a Saturday, then Friday, July 3 is the holiday), whereas if the day falls on a Sunday then the holiday is observed on the following Monday (e.g. if July 4 is a Sunday, then Monday, July 5 is the holiday). Banks are required to observe Federal holidays. Also, though Christmas Eve is not a holiday, the President of the United States may declare all or part of it to be a holiday (the custom has been observed haphazardly). Also, by tradition, if a President dies, the day of his funeral is also declared a national holiday.
State governments are not required to observe Federal holidays, but many also observe them as state holidays (for example, Texas observes all Federal holidays except Columbus Day). They also may observe holidays with special significance to the state (for example, Texas observes April 21 as a "partial staffing holiday"; April 21 is San Jacinto Day, the day on which Texas won its independence over Mexico) as well as religious holidays (Texas allows the following days to be "optional holidays" in lieu of "partial staffing holidays: Good Friday, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah).
The following are some prominent holidays:
- Resurrection Sunday (Easter)
- New Year's Day
- Independence Day
- St. Valentine's Day
- Saint Patrick's Day
- In Texas, a "partial staffing day" is a day on which state offices must be open, though with limited staff; an employee may take that day as a holiday or one of the "optional holidays" instead.