On 16 January, Americans will honour the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr, an activist, minister, and prominent leader in the civil rights movement.
Martin Luther King Jr Day, otherwise known as MLK day, celebrates the birthday of the late activist, who was born in 1929. The federal holiday in King’s honour, which takes place on the third Monday of every January, began shortly after his assassination in 1968, with President Ronald Reagan signing the holiday into law in 1983.
The federal holiday, which marks one of just three dedicated to specific individuals, will see people around the country remember the important lessons taught by the late civil rights leader.
First introduced by Congress in 1885 when it was decided that federal employees should have certain days off from work, the list of US federal holidays is made up of 11 days of significance that Americans recognise - and celebrate.
To ensure that these holidays are observed, certain guidelines have been put in place, with federal holidays that fall on a Saturday observed by federal employees on the previous Friday, while holidays that fall on Sunday are observed the following Monday.
On these 11 days, all non-essential federal offices are closed, while banks, post offices and schools may also be closed. However, that doesn’t mean that all Americans will receive a day off from work, as employees in the private sector may or may not get the day off, depending on their employer.
From Martin Luther King Jr to Thanksgiving, these are the dates of the 2023 federal holidays.
2023 federal holidays:
New Year’s Day: Sunday, January 1 (Observed Monday, January 2)
Martin Luther King Jr Day: Monday, January 16
Presidents’ Day: Monday, February 20
Memorial Day: Monday, May 29
Juneteenth: Friday, June 16
Independence Day: Tuesday, July 4
Labor Day: Monday, September 4
Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also observed as Columbus Day): Monday, October 9
Veterans’ Day: Saturday, November 11 (Observed Friday, November 10)
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 23
Christmas: Monday, December 25
Other important days to note:
Valentine’s Day: Tuesday, February 14
St Patrick’s Day: Friday, March 17
Passover: Thursday, April 6
Good Friday: Friday, April 7
Easter: Sunday, April 9
Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 14
Father’s Day: Sunday, June 18