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Holidays in Washington DC

Holidays in the United States are a well known time of festivities, to be with friends and family and always a cause for celebration. With so much of our nation's history embedded throughout our Nation's Capital, Washington DC has numerous special ceremonies, parades, and remembrances for many of the holidays Americans celebrate today. Some of these unofficial days of merriment are casual and unofficial, such as St. Patrick's Day, or "official" Federal Holidays, such as Fourth of July or Christmas. Whichever the holiday, Washington DC and its surrounding areas come alive with celebration in its own unique way.

Washington DC also has celebrations which are unique to the Capital City, such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival (a month long celebration of peace and friendship between the United States and Japan). No matter the occasion, all holidays in Washington DC ("The District") are celebrated with great pride and vigor: from the President of the United States placing a special wreath on The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Rolling Thunder ceremonies to honor those on Memorial Day, to the grand firework show celebrating the 4th of July, Washington DC offers a unique version of celebrating holidays along with other cities across the nation. If you, your friends, and/or family are planning a trip to the Nation's Capital, be sure to view our holiday guides for all the information you will need during your stay.

Holiday Resources for Washington DC

· Cherry Blossoms
· Christmas
· Easter
· Fourth of July
· Halloween
· Hanukkah
· Martin Luther King Day
· Memorial Day
· New Years
· Saint Patrick's Day
· Thanksgiving
· Valentine's Day


See Our Special Holiday Guides Below

Winter Holidays

The winter holiday season in Washington, DC are nothing short of magical, spectacular as witnessed by the tens of thousands of out of town visitors who come to the Nation's Capital every year during this wonderful part of the year. DC celebrates in a multicultural fashion including Hanukkah, Kwanza, Ramadan and the "big one", Christmas. There is so much going in so many places with so many choices to make it would take longer than the holiday season itself to see and do everything the DC Metro area has to offer. There are tours of the White House, the National Christmas Tree and Pathway of Peace, the many Christmas light displays families can drive through, The Gaylord National Hotel's million-pound ice sculptures, the Scottish Walk Weekend in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and many more.

Visit our Winter Holiday Guide

Cherry Blossoms

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual two-week event (March 27 - April 11) that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees by Japan. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformations Japanese Culture has undergone through the ages. The date when the Yoshino cherry blossoms reach peak bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions. People from all over the world have gathered in Washington, DC to welcome the arrival of spring and to share the special season with each other. The splendid cherry trees, the focal point of the Cherry Blossom Festival, are constant reminders of the strong and enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.

Visit our Cherry Blossoms Guide

Fourth of July

In all the festivities associated with the Washington, D.C. Fourth of July celebrations, Americans sometimes forget the history surrounding the date. The Fourth of July commemorates the ratification of the Declaration of Independence which serves as this Nation's official certificate of birth. It would be hard to imagine ending Independence Day celebrations without the lighting of the night sky with bright, colorful fireworks. It seems every town in our nation puts on its own production this timeof year, yet none can touch the grand display in Washington, DC.

Visit our Fourth of July Guide


Halloween

Halloween is celebrated in Washington, DC and around the world, every year on October 31. Halloween is regarded in many cultures as the time when spirits of the dead return. The day is associated with the colors orange and black. Children, and adults, also dress up in costumes and go house to house trick-or-treating. Halloween is a time to spend with family and friends carving pumpkins, telling scary stories, visiting haunted attractions, and watching horror movies. This guide will help you plan a special Halloween this year, as well as, teach you the true history and mystery that surrounds Halloween and Washington, DC.

Visit our Halloween Guide

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. left his mark on our Nationís Capitol when he helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. On August 28, more than 2,000 buses, 21 special trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington for the political rally that started at the Washington Monument and ended at the Lincoln Memorial. Leaders of the march estimated that over 300,000 people participated. Roughly 80% of the participants were African-American. It was here in Washington DC, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The speech was a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement and is considered one of the most famous in American history.

Visit our Martin Luther King Day Guide

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to celebrate and thank all these people who died (or are MIA) to create the freedoms we enjoy today. Many people travel to the final resting place of their deceased relatives or friends in cemeteries around the country to decorate their graves on this national holiday. Additionally, Memorial Day is about celebrating all people - all of our ancestors and forefathers - who have created the world we live in today and who have paved the long road we walk down into the future. The American tradition of Memorial Day began more than 100 years ago.

Visit our Memorial Day Guide

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Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated worldwide by Irish people and increasingly by non-Irish people, as well (usually in Australia, North America, and Ireland). Hence the phrase, "Everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day." Celebrations are generally themed around the color green and all things Irish; both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the secular version of the holiday by wearing green or orange, eating Irish food and/or green foods, imbibing Irish drink (usually Guinness), and attending parades.

Visit our Saint Patrick's Day Guide

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is an annual tradition celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. It is one of the major holiday's celebrated throughout the United States where friends and family gather for a huge meal centered around turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving, also known as Turkey Day, was officially proclaimed a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated between the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims and the Native American Indians who helped them survive the brutal winter season. The first Thanksgiving provided ample food for over 50 Pilgrims and 90 Indians and lasted three days.

Visit our Thanksgiving Guide

Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day is a holiday on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards, donating to charity or gifting candy. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine's Day. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Visit our Valentine's Day Guide
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