American cuisine reflects the history of the United States, blending the culinary contributions of various groups of people from around the world, including indigenous American Indians, African Americans, Europeans, Pacific Islanders, South Americans. Early Native Americans utilized a number of cooking methods in early American cuisine that have been blended with early European cooking methods to form the basis of what is now American cuisine; the European settlement of the Americas introduced a number of ingredients, spices and cooking styles to the continent. The various styles of cuisine continued expanding well into the 19th and 20th centuries, proportional to the influx of immigrants from many different nations; when the colonists came to the colonies, they farmed animals for clothing and meat in a similar fashion to what they had done in Europe. They had cuisine similar to their previous Dutch, Swedish and British cuisines; the American colonial diet varied depending on the region settled.
Hunted game included deer, bear and wild turkey. A number of fats and oils made from animals served to cook much of the colonial foods. Prior to the Revolution, New Englanders consumed large quantities of rum and beer, as maritime trade provided them easy access to the goods needed to produce these items: rum was the distilled spirit of choice, as the main ingredient, was available from trade with the West Indies. In comparison to the northern colonies, the southern colonies were quite diverse in their agricultural diet. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Americans developed many new foods. During the Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, circa 1890s–1920s, food production and presentation became more industrialized. One characteristic of American cooking is the fusion of multiple ethnic or regional approaches into new cooking styles. A wave of celebrity chefs began with Julia Child and Graham Kerr in the 1970s, with many more following after the rise of cable channels such as the Food Network and Cooking Channel in the late 20th century.
Seafood in the United States originated with the American Indians in the United States, who ate cod, lemon sole, herring, sturgeon, drum on the East Coast, olachen and salmon on the West Coast. Whale was hunted by American Indians off the Northwest coast by the Makah, used for their meat and oil. Seal and walrus were eaten, in addition to eel from New York's Finger Lakes region. Catfish was popular among native people, including the Modocs. Crustaceans included shrimp, lobster and dungeness crabs in the Northwest and blue crabs in the East. Other shellfish include abalone and geoduck on the West Coast, while on the East Coast the surf clam and the soft-shell clam. Oysters were eaten on both shores, as were periwinkles. Early American Indians used a number of cooking methods in early American Cuisine that have been blended with early European cooking methods to form the basis of American Cuisine. Grilling meats was common. Spit roasting over a pit fire was common as well. Vegetables root vegetables were cooked directly in the ashes of the fire.
As early Native Americans lacked pottery that could be used directly over a fire, they developed a technique which has caused many anthropologists to call them "Stone Boilers". They would heat rocks directly in a fire and add the rocks to a pot filled with water until it came to a boil so that it would cook the meat or vegetables in the boiling water. In what is now the Southwestern United States, they created adobe ovens, dubbed hornos by the Spanish, to bake products such as cornmeal bread. Other parts of America dug pit ovens; when the colonists came to Virginia, Massachusetts, or any of the other English colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America, their initial attempts at survival included planting crops familiar to them from back home in England. In the same way, they farmed animals for meat in a similar fashion. Through hardships and eventual establishment of trade with Britain, the West Indies and other regions, the colonists were able to establish themselves in the American colonies with a cuisine similar to their previous British cuisine.
There were some exceptions to the diet, such as local vegetation and animals, but the colonists attempted to use these items in the same fashion as they had their equivalents or ignore them if they could. The manner of cooking for the American colonists followed along the line of British cookery up until the Revolution; the British sentiment followed in the cookbooks brought to the New World as well. In 1796, the first American cookbook was published, others followed. There was a general disdain for French cookery with the French Huguenots in South Carolina and French-Canadians. One of the cookbooks that proliferated in the colonies was The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse, who referred to "the blind folly of this age that would rather be imposed on by a French booby, than give encouragement to a good English cook!" Of the French recipes given in the text, she speaks out flagrantly against the dishes as she "… think it an odd jumble of trash." Reinforcing the anti-French sentiment was the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1764.
This created a large anxiety against th
Mythologies of the indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas comprise numerous different cultures. Each has its own mythologies; some are quite distinct. There is no single mythology of the Indigenous North American peoples, but numerous different canons of traditional narratives associated with religion and beliefs; such stories are based in Nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons, plants, earth, fire and the heavenly bodies. Common elements are the principle of an all-embracing and omniscient Great Spirit, a connection to the Earth and its landscapes, a belief in a parallel world in the sky, diverse creation narratives, visits to the'land of the dead', collective memories of ancient sacred ancestors A characteristic of many of the myths is the close relationship between human beings and animals, they feature shapeshifting between animal and human form. Marriage between people and different species is a common theme. In some stories, animals foster human children. Although most Native North American myths are profound and serious, some use light-hearted humour – in the form of tricksters – to entertain, as they subtly convey important spiritual and moral messages.
The use of allegory is common, exploring issues ranging from love and friendship to domestic violence and mental illness. Some myths are connected to traditional religious rituals involving dance, music and trance. Most of the myths from this region were first transcribed by ethnologists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries; these sources were collected from Native American elders who still had strong connections to the traditions of their ancestors. They may be considered the most authentic surviving records of the ancient stories, thus form the basis of the descriptions below. All the original sources quoted are now available to read online through websites such as archive.org Myths from this region feature female deities such as the creator Big Turtle, First Mother from whose body grew the first corn and tobacco. The two great divine culture heroes are Manabus. Other stories explore the complex relationships between human beings; some myths were recited as verse narratives. Iroquois mythology Ho-Chunk mythology Wyandot religion Seneca mythology Stories unique to this region feature buffalo – the animals whose bodies provided the Plains peoples with food, clothing and utensils.
In some myths they are benign, in others malevolent. The Sun is an important deity. A common theme is the making of a journey to a supernatural place across the landscape or up to the parallel world in the sky. One of the most dominant tricksters of the Plains is Old Man, about whom numerous humorous stories are told. An important supernatural hero is the Blood Clot Boy, transformed from a clot of blood. Important myths of this region deal with the origin of hunting and farming, the origin of sickness and medicine. See also: Cherokee mythology Choctaw mythology Creek mythology Myths of this region are dominated by the sacred creator / trickster Coyote. Other significant characters include the Star Women and Darkness. See also: Kuksu – a religion in Northern California practiced by members within several Indigenous peoples of California. Miwok mythology – a North American tribe in Northern California. Ohlone mythology – a North American tribe in Northern California. Pomo religion – a North American tribe in Northern California.
Myths of the Navajo and Pueblo peoples tell how the first human beings emerged from an underworld to the Earth. According to the Hopi Pueblo people, the first beings were the Sun, two goddesses known as Hard Being Women and Spider Woman, it was the goddesses who created human beings. Other themes include the origin of tobacco and corn, horses; some stories describe parallel worlds in underwater. See also: Ute mythology – a North American tribe located in both the Northwestern and Southwestern United States. Diné Bahaneʼ – a North American nation from the Southwestern United States. Hopi mythology – a North American tribe in Arizona. Zuni mythology – a North American tribe in New Mexico. Myths of the Plateau region express the people's intense spiritual feeling for their landscapes, emphasise the importance of treating with respect the animals that they depend upon for food. Sacred tricksters here include Fox. See also: Salish mythology – a North American tribe or band in Montana, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada The myths of this region are set in the landscape of tundra and ice.
Memorable stories feature the moon and giants. Some accounts say that Anguta is the supreme being, who created the Earth and heavenly bodies, his daughter, Sedna created all living things -- plants. She is regarded as the protecting divinity of the Inuit people. Here some myths reflect the extreme climate and the people's dependence on salmon as a major food resource. In imagination, the landscape is populated by both malevolent giants. In this region the dominant sacred trickster is Raven, who brought daylight to the world and appears in many other stories. Myths explore the people's relationship with the coast and the rivers along which they traditionally built their towns. There are stories of visits to parallel worlds beneath the sea. and up in the sky See also: Kwakwaka'wakw mythology – an Indigenous peoples of the Pacif
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders known under its original name Reporters Sans Frontières, is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Paris that conducts political advocacy on issues relating to freedom of information and freedom of the press. Reporters Without Borders has two primary spheres of activity: one is focused on Internet censorship and the new media, the other on providing material and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas, its missions are to continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide, denounce any such attacks in the media, act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families and offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety. Reporters Without Borders was founded in 1985 by Robert Ménard, Rémy Loury, Jacques Molénat and Émilien Jubineau, in Montpellier, France.
Its head office is in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. RWB maintains offices in Berlin, Geneva, Rome, Tunis and Washington, D. C, their first office in Asia, located in Taipei, Taiwan opened in July 2017. Taiwan has been rated the top Asian nation in RSF’s Press Freedom Index for five consecutive years, since 2013, ranked 45th in 2017. At first, the association worked to promote alternative journalism, but there were disagreements between the founders. Only Ménard remained and he changed the organization's direction towards promoting freedom of the press. Reporters Without Borders states that it draws its inspiration from Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to which everyone has "the right to freedom of opinion and expression" and the right to "seek and impart" information and ideas "regardless of frontiers". Ménard was RWB's first Secretary General. Jean-François Julliard succeeded Ménard in 2008. Christophe Deloire succeeded Julliard in July 2012. Reporters Without Borders' primary means of direct action are appeals to government authorities through letters or petitions, as well as frequent press releases.
Through its world-wide network of 150 correspondents, RWB gathers information and conducts investigations of press freedom violations by region or topic. If necessary, it will send a team of its own to assess working conditions for journalists in a specific country, it releases annual reports on countries as well as the Press Freedom Index. It has launched advertising campaigns with the pro bono assistance of advertising firms to raise public awareness of threats to freedom of information and freedom of the press, to undermine the image of countries that it considers enemies of freedom of expression, to discourage political support by the international community for governments that attack rather than protect freedom of information. RWB provides assistance for journalists and media who are either in danger or are having difficulty subsisting, they provide money to assist exiled or imprisoned journalists and their families and the unsupported families of journalists who have been killed. Reporters Without Borders is a founding member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a virtual network of non-governmental organizations that monitors free expression violations worldwide and defends journalists and others who are persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
RWB has a presence in 150 countries through local correspondents who act as information relays and through close collaborations with local and regional press freedom groups, including: Through the years RWB has received a number of awards, including: 2014: City of Bonn's 2014 DemokratiePreis. 2013: received the "Freedom of Speech Award" from the International Association of Press Clubs, in Warsaw. 2012: received the "Club Internacional de Prensa" Award, in Madrid. 2009: shared the "Roland Berger Human Dignity Award" with Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi. 2009: received the "Médaille Charlemagne" for European Media. 2008: received the "Kahlil Gibran Award for Institutional Excellence" from the Arab American Institute Foundation. 2007: received the "Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award" from Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and the "Dawit Isaak Prize" from Swedish Publicists' Association. 2006: received an International Emmy Award from the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
2005: shared the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for "Freedom of Thought" with Nigerian human rights lawyer Hauwa Ibrahim and Cuba's Ladies in White movement. 1997: received the "Journalism and Democracy Prize" from the Parliament Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. 1992: received the "Lorenzo Natali Prize" from the European Commission for defending human rights and democracy. Reporters Without Borders issues press releases, fact finding reports, periodical publications, it publishes periodic mission reports on developments in individual countries or regions or on a specific topic. Each December it publishes an annual overview of events related to freedom of information and the safety of journalists, it maintains a web site accessible in six languages (French, Spanish, Arabic
The Star-Spangled Banner
"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U. S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U. S. victory. The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven", with various lyrics, was popular in the United States. Set to Key's poem and renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", it soon became a well-known U. S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is sung today.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, by U. S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover. Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of U. S. officialdom. "Hail, Columbia" served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. "My Country,'Tis of Thee", whose melody is identical to "God Save the Queen", the United Kingdom's national anthem served as a de facto national anthem. Following the War of 1812 and subsequent U. S. wars, other songs emerged to compete for popularity at public events, among them "America the Beautiful", which itself was being considered before 1931, as a candidate to become the national anthem of the United States. On September 3, 1814, following the Burning of Washington and the Raid on Alexandria, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden, flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by President James Madison.
Their objective was to secure an exchange of prisoners, one of whom was Dr. William Beanes, the elderly and popular town physician of Upper Marlboro and a friend of Key's, captured in his home. Beanes was accused of aiding the arrest of British soldiers. Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans. At first and Cochrane refused to release Beanes but relented after Key and Skinner showed them letters written by wounded British prisoners praising Beanes and other Americans for their kind treatment; because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and back on HMS Minden. After the bombardment, certain British gunboats attempted to slip past the fort and effect a landing in a cove to the west of it, but they were turned away by fire from nearby Fort Covington, the city's last line of defense.
During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort's smaller "storm flag" continued to fly, but once the shell and Congreve rocket barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. On the morning of September 14, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised. During the bombardment, HMS Terror and HMS Meteor provided some of the "bombs bursting in air". Key was inspired by the U. S. victory and the sight of the large U. S. flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, had been made by Mary Young Pickersgill together with other workers in her home on Baltimore's Pratt Street; the flag came to be known as the Star-Spangled Banner and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program. Aboard the ship the next day, Key wrote a poem on the back of a letter.
At twilight on September 16, he and Skinner were released in Baltimore. He completed the poem at the Indian Queen Hotel, where he was staying, titled it "Defence of Fort M'Henry", it was first published nationally in The Analectic Magazine. Much of the idea of the poem, including the flag imagery and some of the wording, is derived from an earlier song by Key set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song"; the song, known as "When the Warrior Returns", was written in honor of Stephen Decatur and Charles Stewart on their return from the First Barbary War. Absent elaboration by Francis Scott Key prior to his death in 1843, some have speculated in modern times about the meaning of phrases or verses. According to British historian Robin Blackburn, the words "the hireling and slave" allude to the thousands of ex-slaves in the British ranks organised as the Corps of Colonial Marines, liberated by the British and demanded to be placed in the battle line "where they might expect to meet their former masters."
Professor Mark Clague, a professor of musicology at the University of Michigan, argues that the "middle two verses of Key's lyric vilify the British enemy in the War of 1812" and "in no way glorifies or celebrates slavery." Clague writes that "For Key... the British mercenaries were scoundrels and the Colonial Marines were traitors who threatened to spark a national insurrection." This harshly anti-British nature of Verse 3 led to its omission in sheet music in World War I, when the British and the U. S. were allies. Responding to the assertion of writer
Culture of the United States
The culture of the United States of America is of Western culture origin and form, but is influenced by a multicultural ethos that includes African, Native American, Asian and Latin American people and their cultures. It has its own social and cultural characteristics, such as dialect, arts, social habits and folklore; the United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as a result of large-scale migration from many countries throughout its history. Many American cultural elements from popular culture, have spread across the globe through modern mass media; the European roots of the United States are in the English settlers of colonial America during British rule. The varieties of English people as opposed to the other peoples in the British Isles were the overwhelming majority ethnic group in the 17th century and were 47.9% of percent of the total population of 3. 9 million. They constituted 60% of the whites at the first census in 1790, The American Revolution, Colin Bonwick, 1991, p. 254.
The English ethnic group contributed the major cultural and social mindset and attitudes that evolved into the American character. Of the total population in each colony they numbered from 30% in Pennsylvania to 85% in Massachusetts, Becoming America, Jon Butler, 2000, pp. 9–11. Large non-English immigrant populations from the 1720s to 1775, such as the Germans, Scotch Irish, added enriched and modified the English cultural substrate, The Encyclopedia of Colonial and Revolutionary America, Ed. John Mack Faragher, 1990, pp. 200–202. The religious outlook was some versions of Protestantism; the British colonies inherited the English language, legal system, British culture, the majority cultural heritage. Parts of what are now the United States were colonized by France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Japan. Though overtaken by British or American territorial expansion, the longer they lasted the more these earlier colonial societies contributed to modern-day culture, including place names, religion and food.
Jeffersonian democracy was a foundational American cultural innovation, still a core part of the country's identity. Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia was the first influential domestic cultural critique by an American and was written in reaction to the views of some influential Europeans that America's native flora, including humans, were degenerate. Major cultural influences have been brought by historical immigration from Germany in much of the country and Italy in the Northeast, Japan in Hawaii. Latin American culture is pronounced in former Spanish areas but has been introduced by immigration, as has Asian American cultures. Forced migration during the Atlantic slave trade, followed by liberation won in the American Civil War created African-American culture which pervades the South and other areas receiving internal immigrants during the Great Migrations. Blending Southern and traditional African culture to some degree, this uniquely American culture has its own dialect.
Rap and music videos featuring African-American urban street culture have appeared in countries and melded with local performance cultures worldwide. Though many mainland Native American tribes and nations were overpowered by European colonists and American territorial expansion, but in the areas they were pushed out of left cultural influences such as place names, knowledge about New World crops. Native culture remains strong in areas with large undisturbed or relocated populations, including traditional government and communal organization of property now managed by Indian reservations; the fate of native culture after contact with Europeans is quite varied. For example, Taíno culture in U. S. Caribbean territories is nearly extinct and like most Native American languages, the Taíno language is no longer spoken. In contrast the Hawaiian language and culture of the Native Hawaiians has survived in Hawaii and mixed with that of immigrants from the mainland U. S. and to some degree Japanese immigrants.
It influences mainstream American culture with notable exports like surfing and Hawaiian shirts. Most languages native to what is now U. S. territory have gone extinct, the economic and mainstream cultural dominance of English threatens the surviving ones in most places. The most common native languages include Samoan, Navajo language, Sioux, a spectrum of Inuit languages. Ethnic Samoans are a majority in American Samoa. American culture includes both conservative and liberal elements and religious competitiveness, political structures, risk taki
Music of the United States
The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by West African, Irish and mainland European cultures among others; the country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, country, rock and blues, ragtime, hip hop, pop, techno, dance and salsa. The United States has the world's largest music market with a total retail value of 4,898.3 million dollars in 2014, its music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near global audience. Native Americans were the earliest inhabitants of the land, today known as the United States and played its first music. Beginning in the 17th century, immigrants from the United Kingdom, Spain and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles and instruments. African slaves brought their own musical traditions, each subsequent wave of immigrants contributed to a melting pot.
Much of modern popular music can trace its roots to the emergence in the late 19th century of African American blues and the growth of gospel music in the 1920s. The African American basis for popular music used elements derived from European and indigenous musics. There are strong African roots in the music tradition of the original white settlers, such as country and bluegrass; the United States has seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of the Ukrainian, Scottish, Polish and Jewish communities, among others. Many American cities and towns have vibrant music scenes which, in turn, support a number of regional musical styles. Along with musical centers such as Philadelphia, Portland, New York City, San Francisco, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Miami, Nashville and Los Angeles, many smaller cities such as Asbury Park, New Jersey have produced distinctive styles of music; the Cajun and Creole traditions in Louisiana music, the folk and popular styles of Hawaiian music, the bluegrass and old time music of the Southeastern states are a few examples of diversity in American music.
The music of the United States can be characterized by the use of syncopation and asymmetrical rhythms, irregular melodies, which are said to "reflect the wide open geography of" and the "sense of personal freedom characteristic of American life". Some distinct aspects of American music, like the call-and-response format, are derived from African techniques and instruments. Throughout the part of American history, into modern times, the relationship between American and European music has been a discussed topic among scholars of American music; some have urged for the adoption of more purely European techniques and styles, which are sometimes perceived as more refined or elegant, while others have pushed for a sense of musical nationalism that celebrates distinctively American styles. Modern classical music scholar John Warthen Struble has contrasted American and European, concluding that the music of the United States is inherently distinct because the United States has not had centuries of musical evolution as a nation.
Instead, the music of the United States is that of dozens or hundreds of indigenous and immigrant groups, all of which developed in regional isolation until the American Civil War, when people from across the country were brought together in army units, trading musical styles and practices. Struble deemed the ballads of the Civil War "the first American folk music with discernible features that can be considered unique to America: the first'American' sounding music, as distinct from any regional style derived from another country."The Civil War, the period following it, saw a general flowering of American art and music. Amateur musical ensembles of this era can be seen as the birth of American popular music. Music author David Ewen describes these early amateur bands as combining "the depth and drama of the classics with undemanding technique, eschewing complexity in favor of direct expression. If it was vocal music, the words would be in English, despite the snobs who declared English an unsingable language.
In a way, it was part of the entire awakening of America that happened after the Civil War, a time in which American painters, and'serious' composers addressed American themes." During this period the roots of blues, gospel and country music took shape. Music intertwines with aspects of American social and cultural identity, including through social class and ethnicity, religion, language and sexuality; the relationship between music and race is the most potent determiner of musical meaning in the United States. The development of an African American musical identity, out of disparate sources from Africa and Europe, has been a constant theme in the music history of the United States. Little documentation exists of colonial-era African American music, when styles and instruments from across West Africa commingled with European styles and instruments in the melting pot of slavery. By the mid-19th century, a distinctly African American folk tradition was well-known and widespread, African American musical techniques and images became a part of mainstream American music through spirituals, minstrel shows, slave songs.
African American musical styles became an integral part of American popular music through blues, jazz and blues, the
Public holidays in the United States
The schedule of public holidays in the United States is influenced by the schedule of federal holidays but is controlled by private sector employers who employ 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary. Public holidays with paid time off is defined to occur on a day, within the employee's work week; when a holiday occurs on Saturday or Sunday, that holiday is shifted to either Monday. Most employers follow a holiday schedule similar to the federal holidays of the United States, with exceptions or additions; the federal holiday schedule benefits employees of government and government regulated businesses. However, this sector only comprises 15% of the working population. At the discretion of the employer, other non-federal holidays such as Christmas Eve and the Day after Thanksgiving are common additions to the list of paid holidays while Columbus Day and Veterans Day are common omissions.
Besides paid holidays are festival and food holidays that have wide acceptance based on sales of goods and services that are associated with that holiday. Halloween and Valentine's Day are such examples of celebrated uncompensated holidays. Public holidays had their origins from established federal holidays, they were observed on days that have significance for various sectors of American society and are observed at all levels of society including government, the private sector, are derived from the history and the cultures of the US demographics and have changed over time. Observances of holidays are most observed with paid time off, many holiday celebrations are done with festivities without time off; some are observed with community work depending on the meaning of the holiday. They are however not mandated by any government, whether it be federal, state, or local governments. There are no national holidays. Federal holidays are only established for certain federally chartered and regulated businesses, for Washington, DC All other public holidays are created by the States.
As a result, holidays have not been governed at the federal level and federal law does not govern business opening. Some states restrict some business activities on some holidays. Business closures are mandated on some holidays in some states for certain kinds of businesses by Blue Laws. For example, some businesses cannot open on Thanksgiving Day in some New England states if the businesses operated on more than 5000 square feet of space; the most notable businesses to close on such occasions are car dealerships and establishments selling alcohol. As of 2012, there were eleven federal holidays in the United States, ten annual holidays and one quadrennial holiday. Pursuant to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, official holidays are observed on a Monday, except for New Year's Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Christmas. While all current federal holidays have been made public holidays in all 50 states for federal organizations, each state is not bound to observe the holidays on the same dates as the federal holidays.
Many states have additional holidays that are not observed by the federal government. Many businesses observe certain holidays as well, which are not mandated by any government agency. A list of "recommended diversity holidays" recognizes many cultures that range from Christianity to Islam, as well as racial diversity where various ethnic holidays such as St. Patrick's Day, Diwali, Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo are celebrated by individuals in the workplace, as a matter of best practice. In light of recent race issues in the United States, many municipalities both at the city and state levels have begun celebrating Malcolm X Day and Rosa Parks Day in addition to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to embrace the disenfranchised African American community in the form of festivals and parades if not done as a legal public holiday. Illinois and Berkeley, California are two places where Malcolm X is honored with a legal holiday with offices closed whereas Missouri honored Rosa Parks on her birthday. Today, the United States is the 85th most ethnically diverse country in the world.
While the popularity of each public holiday cannot be measured, the holiday with the highest greeting card sales is Christmas. Major retail establishments such as malls, shopping centers and most retail stores close only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and some on Easter Sunday as well, but remain open on all other holidays. All companies observe and close on the major holidays; some non-retail business close on the day after Thanksgiving, while some are not allowed to close on the day after Thanksgiving. Some smaller businesses open on Sunday will close on Easter Sunday, if it is their experience they will have few customers that day; the labor force in the United States comprises about 62% of the general population. In the United States, 97% of the private sector businesses determine what days this sector of t