Workmen on the faces of Mount Rushmore, Pennington County, South Dakota, late 1930s. Roosevelt has scaffolding over his face.

President’s Day Is a Weird Holiday. It Has Been Since the Beginning.

How should a republic honor its leaders?
Guy Lombardo with a conductor's baton and a New Year's party hat.

Do Americans Sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ Because of a Frat Party?

Or maybe it was the cigars that gave us this New Year's Eve staple.
A circa 1830 illustration of a slave auction in America. Rischgitz/Hulton Archive—Getty Images.

'The Slaves Dread New Year's Day the Worst': The Grim History of January 1

New Year's Day used to be widely known as "Hiring Day" or "Heartbreak Day"
A painting of George Washington.
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What Is Presidents’ Day Actually About?

For most of American history, Washington's Birthday was a really big deal, but that’s changed a lot since the middle of the twentieth century.

Buying Your Dad a Gift Is Why Father's Day Exists

Buying a necktie for your dad is a stereotypical way to celebrate Father's Day, but it's in keeping with the holiday's history.

Christmas in the Space Age: Looking Back at the Wild Designs of Mid-20th-Century Holidays

There are two critical periods for Christmas. One is the Victorian era. The other is the 1960s.
Book cover of "Living the Dream" by Daniel T. Fleming.

Fighting to Desegregate the American Calendar

As a versatile but complex hero, King led a life open to interpretation by politicians and activists of all types who fiercely debated his legacy.
Joel Roberts Poinsett (left). The poinsettia, which takes its name from Poinsett (right).

Poinsettia Day, the Monroe Doctrine, and U.S.-Mexican Relations

The troubled history of the famous poinsettia plant.
Juneteenth parade in Galveston in 2021.

The Story We’ve Been Told About Juneteenth Is Wrong

The real history of Juneteenth is much messier—and more inspiring.
Charlie Brown and his friends at a store with a Christmas sale.

When Christmas Started Creeping

Christmas starts earlier every year — or does it?
A Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.

The Secret History of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Why do we eat pumpkin pie spice in the fall?
Rally honoring Martin Luther King Jr., Central Park, New York City, 1968

A Case of the Mondays

The beginning of the fight for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Billboard claiming MLK was a Republican

The Uses and Abuses of the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Politics have diluted King's dream.
This 1925 painting depicts an idealized version of an early Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth.

How to Tell the Thanksgiving Story on Its 400th Anniversary

Scholars are unraveling the myths surrounding the 1621 feast, which found the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag cementing a newly established alliance.
Condoleezza Rice

Why Aren’t Conservative Women Recognized During Women’s History Month?

The left regularly dismisses such women as less worthy of recognition.
2015 Purim Ball in New York City

How New York's 19th-Century Jews Turned Purim Into an American Party

In the 19th century, Purim became an occasion to hold parties to raise money for charities. These parties helped American Jews gain a standing among the elite.
Toy santa mug shots

The War on Christmas

A brief history of the Yuletide in America.
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A Long-Forgotten Holiday Animates Black Lives Matter

The movement for racial equality echoes the vision of the “August First Day” holiday.

The Living History of Juneteenth, Our Next National Holiday

A celebration of emancipation in Texas is taking hold in the minds of Americans everywhere.
Two people in a horse-drawn carriage

Early Photographs of Juneteenth Celebrations

Historical photographs of early Juneteenth celebrations throughout its home state of Texas and across the country.