Despite being a relatively young country, the United States has a large number of festivals and traditions, due to its great cultural diversity.
Many immigrants have incorporated celebrations typical of their countries of origin and dates that are key in the history of the country and the personalities that have excelled in it are also celebrated.
This festival is the equivalent of the Day of the Holy Innocents celebrated in December in many Spanish-speaking countries. In the United States, jokes are made on April 1. Its origin dates back to the sixteenth century when formerly the New Year fell on that date. The Americans resisted changing the calendar and continued to celebrate it on this day until they were known as the ‘fools of April.’
Because of the high percentage of Christians in the population, Christmas is celebrated in a big way in the United States. The streets of the main cities are filled with people and colourful lights, and most houses are decorated with Christmas motifs. The restaurants and bars also join in the festivities.
Easter marks the end of Holy Week, known in the United States as the Spring Break, when all students have vacations and take the opportunity to attend Florida's university parties. On Easter Sunday many cities celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with eggs of different colours, music and dances.
Halloween is one of the best known holidays in the United States, so much so that it has been exported to other countries. It is celebrated on the night of October 31. Children often disguise themselves as different scary characters and go trick-or-treating. Many houses in suburban neighbourhoods are decorated with pumpkins, skeletons and bats.
July 4 is one of the most important days in the United States. It is a national holiday because it celebrates the Declaration of Independence of the British Empire since 1776. During this day there are concerts, flea markets, family BBQ's and a festive atmosphere and, at nightfall, in many of the big cities, there are fireworks.
Martin Luther King, an activist of civil rights and racial equality, was born on January 15, so this national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January is close to his birthday. This great man and his achievements are remembered. One of the best states to celebrate the day is in Washington, where he made his famous "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
It is one of the best-known parties in the United States. It is most proudly and loudly celebrated in Times Square, New York, where a huge disco ball marks the New Year's entrance with musical performances and a party atmosphere.
Thanksgiving Day is one of the festivals that is often portrayed in American movies and television series. It is celebrated before Christmas, on the fourth Thursday of November, and family and friends gather for dinner and enjoy a traditional roasted turkey. In New York, the popular Macy's parade is organized, featuring giant balloons, floats and animated characters.