Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"National" Holidays

I'd like to share some insight with you: we are a nation that likes to celebrate everything. With Presidents' Day right around the corner, it seems like the beginning of the year is full of national holidays. I'll admit that I am one of the last people to notice things, but lately I've noticed an unusual number of celebratory days.

How easy is it to make something a national holiday? Perhaps I've missed something, but I thought Congress had to pass a law for there to be a national holiday. Well, if they can't agree on the budget, it's nice to see that they agree to not "cry over spilled milk."
 
I guess they do not mean THAT Peppermint Patty










After a little research, I found that the majority of these "national days" are not enacted laws. In fact, the list of days that are recognized as official national holidays or observances is fairly small. Like all legislation, a bill to create a new federal holiday must go through committees and be approved by both chambers of Congress before being signed into law by the President. Congressional Research Service has several detailed reports on federal holidays, including evolution and current practices.

Representative Conyers introduced a bill in 2011 that would have made the "Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in even number years as 'election day'." Unfortunately, the bill did not get very far. It can take years for a day to become a national holiday. Legislation designating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday as a holiday was first proposed in 1968, but was not signed into law until 1983.

If you have a cause or obsession that you would like to see celebrated, but don't want to wait 15 years to see it happen, you can register a national day via nationaldaycalendar.com, which explains the uptick in "national" holidays recently.

Why not try to register your own national day? If things don't go as planned, you can always celebrate "Blame Someone Else Day" this Friday the 13th.


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