Vacations and Holidays


When there is a holiday in the United States, some people go camping or take short trips, while others travel to visit friends or relatives. Many people in America celebrate national and religious holidays. National holidays are those holidays that are celebrated by all Americans across the nation. On national holidays government employees, banking employees, and many other people have the day off. Religious holidays are celebrated by people who profess a certain religion. Examples of religious holidays are: Yom Kippur, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, and Ramadan. The holidays most observed in the U.S. are: Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Presidents’ Day, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Paid vacations are usually given by a person’s place of employment. Everybody is entitled to take his or her annual vacation, which generally lasts for two weeks. But vacation policy varies from company to company and may be determined according to contract. A person may be entitled to take his or her vacation after being on the job for one year. During vacation time, people may take a trip abroad or go to different states in the U.S to be away from work and break their routine. Some companies allow you to accumulate your vacations time and take your vacations all in one shot, which means that if you haven’t taken your vacation for two or three years in a row, you can take two or three months of vacation time all at once.

Thanksgiving Day is the most celebrated non-religious holiday for America, and it is always celebrated on the third Thursday of November. This holiday generally brings all the members of a family together and was established by some of the earliest European pilgrims that came to America. With this celebration, the pilgrims thanked God for the safe journey across the Atlantic and for generosity of the native people they encountered when they first arrived. Modern Americans observe it to give thanks for all that they have. Right after Thanksgiving comes Christmas, a time of peace and reflection and the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas is both a national and a religious holiday. Many people buy and decorate Christmas trees before Christmas and exchange gifts on this day. When snow falls at Christmas, people call it a white Christmas.

Any discussion of holidays in America must include Independence Day “consider to be America’s birthday and also called July 4th or 4th of July. It is celebrated with massive fireworks displays and a lot of enthusiasm. The fireworks are a very special part of the celebration. Many cities have governments that sponsor wonderful fireworks displays, but individual citizens also get into the fireworks act on their own in a big way. Veteran’s Day is the day on which Americans remember all those who fought for America in all the wars that The United States has taken part in. Many people visit memorials to honor the people who died defending the U.S.A

President’s Day was established to combine the birthdays of America’s two most famous presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington into a single national holiday. It is celebrated on a Monday in February fallen between those two birthdays in order to give people and extra day off after the weekend. Columbus Day is celebrated to commemorate the discovery of the New World by the Italian explorer and seaman Christopher Columbus, although many businesses do not celebrate it as a holiday all banks and government offices are closed. In March there is a big celebration (especially in New York) that is called Saint Patrick’s Day. Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of the Irish people and all of those of Irish origin. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Saint Patrick’s birthday March 17th every year. In New York it is celebrated with a huge parade along Fifth Avenue.

Vocabulary and Expressions

Holidays = A special day specified for religious or civic observance.
Vacations = period of time devoted to pleasure, rest or relaxation especially one with pay granted to an employee.
Religious = having to do with religion and beliefs.
Have the day off = to have time off from work (not to work on that day).
Independence Day = day in which American people celebrate their independence from England. It is celebrated the 4th of July of every year.
Thanksgiving Day = day in which American people celebrate the successful journey made by the pilgrims who first came to America. It is usually celebrated the third Thursday of November.
Presidents’ Day = unified holiday that celebrates Abraham’s Lincoln and George’s Washington birthdays. It is celebrated the third Monday of February.
Veteran’s Day = on this day Americans remember all those who fought and also the ones who have died in all the wars that the USA has taken part in. This holiday is celebrated the second Monday of November.
Columbus Day = on this holiday people celebrate the day in which Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. It is celebrated the first Monday of October.
Christmas = on Christmas people celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on December 25th.
To be entitled to = to have the right to do something.
Annual vacation = period of time off from work given to an employee by his or her employer.
To be away from = to be distant from something or somebody.
To break the routine = to do something different than the things that we do every day.
To accumulate = to make something bigger in amount; to pile.
To allow = similar to permit or to let.
To encounter = to find; to run into.
Right after = similar to just before that.
To share = to give part of what you have to others.
Christmas tree = adorned tree decorated with Christmas decoration and lights on Christmas.
Enthusiasm = positive attitude towards something.
Fireworks = man made lights that fire and explode in the sky turning different colors.
Memorials = big wall made of concrete and marble with names carved in it commemorating the dead.

Conversation Activities

1. Is Christmas celebrated all over the world?
2. What are the most celebrated holidays in your country?
3. Do people like to go out to eat often where you are from?
4. Why are those holidays important? Are they religious holidays or national holidays?
5. When is the Independence Day of your country. How is it celebrated?
6. How long is your vacation time?
7. Do you think that is important for your mind and body to take a vacation and take time off from work for a while?
8. How long do you think a vacation should last?
9. Where do you think people like to go on vacation?
10. What are some favorite vacation spots?
11. Have you ever been to a big resort?