Memorial Day: Arlington National Cemetery 2011, by Celine Aussourd via Flickr
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, and honors American men and women who died in military service to their country. It was started to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War, but now includes those who died in any war or military action. Many towns hold Memorial Day parades and many people visit cemeteries and memorials.
This year Memorial Day falls on Monday May 30th.
Mother’s Day was conceived in 1908 by Anna Jarvis of West Virginia. Ms. Jarvis believed that a special day should be set aside to honor mothers for sacrifices made on behalf of their children. She dedicated herself to this cause and was rewarded when Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914. The occasion quickly became commercialized, generating huge profits for greeting card companies and florists. This development so offended Anna Jarvis that she eventually renounced the holiday that she had created.
In the United States, Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the second Sunday in May. This year, Mother’s Day falls on May 8th.
Learn more about Mother’s Day and find ideas for honoring your mother on our page of links.
Cinco de Mayo means “Fifth of May” in Spanish, and is a celebration of the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. The Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, won the battle even though the French force was three times as large and better equipped. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico, and has become a popular heritage celebration in the United States.
Learn more about Cinco de Mayo from our page of links.
The annual celebration of Asian-Pacific Americans began as a week-long observance in 1978. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a resolution extending the celebration to the entire month of May. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
The month of May was chosen to recognize the history, culture and contributions of Asian-Pacific Americans for two reasons:
1) the first Japanese immigrants in the United States arrived on May 7, 1843
2) the transcontinental railroad, which was constructed largely through the labor of Chinese immigrants, was finished on May 10, 1869
Learn more about Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month on our page of links
Arbor Day is a state holiday celebrated each year on last Friday in April. It is customary to observe the day by planting a tree. It is estimated that one million trees were planted in the United States on the first Arbor Day April 10, 1872. This year Arbor Day falls on April 29th.
Find tips for planting a tree and ideas for celebrating Arbor Day on our page of links.
Jewish Year 5776: Sunset April 22 – Nightfall April 30, 2016
Passover is an eight day Jewish holiday that celebrates the delivery of the Jews from bondage in Egypt. It is observed on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan.
Passover is a moveable feast, a holiday which does not fall on the same date every year, but varies according to astronomical occurrences and is based on the Jewish liturgical calendar.
Learn more about this important observance on our page of links