Special Report

The Origins of July 4th and Every Other Federal Holiday

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved several federal holidays to Mondays. The goal was to give workers several three-day weekends throughout the year so families can spend more time together.

The U.S. government recognizes a total of 12 federal holidays – 11 observed annually and Inauguration Day observed every four years.

A federal holiday is a calendar date that is recognized and designated by the federal government as a holiday. This is a day when nonessential federal government offices are closed. State governments and private institutions such as banks are not required by law to close on federal holidays, though most do as a courtesy.

The first four federal holidays were established in 1870, when Congress passed a law allowing federal workers in the District of Columbia to take paid time off on New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Federal, state, and other types of holiday — regardless of its initial purpose — are popular times to travel. After a year of travel restrictions, spending time outside is much needed for many people. This is the best place to enjoy the water in each state.

Click here for the origin of July 4th and every other federal holiday.