Days of Observance in 2015

(File photo: The Associated Press)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — We all celebrate different holidays during this time of year.

Here’s a look at days of observance from now through the rest of 2015:

November 26 — Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal to ‘give thanks’ and be grateful for everyday gifts. The holiday was established in the United States in 1863.

Many people trace the origins of the modern Thanksgiving Day to the harvest celebration that the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. However, their first true thanksgiving was in 1623, when they gave thanks for rain that ended a drought.

November 27 — American Indian Heritage Day

American Indian Heritage Day, also known as Native American Heritage Day, recognizes the native American heritage, history and contributions. The day also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to educate students about the history, achievements, and contributions of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions and activities.

November 27 — Lincoln’s Birthday/Lincoln’s Day

Lincoln’s Birthday celebrates the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, one of the most popular presidents in United States history. It is a state holiday in some states on or around February 12. It’s also known as Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, Abraham Lincoln Day or Lincoln Day.

November 27 — Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the busiest shopping days in the U.S. On the heels of Thanksgiving, many stores open early and offer special deals and discounts, giving consumers the chance to start their holiday shopping early.

November 29 — First Sunday of Advent

The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year across many western churches in the United States. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, starting on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Day.

November 30 — Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is essentially the online equivalent to Black Friday. Online retailers offer deals to shoppers in what’s becoming one of busiest online shopping days for deals and discounts in the U.S. Cyber Monday is described as a “marketing invention” first observed in 2005 by online retailer

December 6 — St. Nicholas’ Day

St. Nicholas’ Day is an observance of European origin that is celebrated in some American communities. Children in families who celebrate receive treats including candy, cookies, small toys or fruit in stockings, socks, shoes or bags.

December 7 — First day of Chanukah/Hanukkah

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or Festival of Lights, is celebrated by Jewish communities and families on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. The Hanukkah period lasts for eight days and is celebrated from the 25th day of Kislev to the second day of Tevet. The first night of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) starts with special blessings at sunset the day before the 25th of Kislev. Many Jewish people light the menorah, also known as the hanukiah (orchanukkiyah), a type of candelabrum.

Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in 162 BCE. It is believed that there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp burning for one day but the small bottle of oil miraculously lasted for eight days. The survival of Judaism over the many years is also celebrated during this period.

December 7 — Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which is annually on December 7, commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, during World War II. More than 2000 American citizens were killed and more than 1000 were injured. The Americans also lost a large proportion of their battle ships and nearly 200 aircraft that were stationed in the Pacific region.

December 8 — Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Many Christians, particularly those of Catholic faith, in the United States observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception centers on the belief that Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary, was conceived without sin. Pope Pius IX issued an apostolic constitution, known as the Ineffabilis Deus, on December 8, 1854. This document clarified the importance of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church.

December 12 — Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is particularly special for Americans of Mexican heritage, as it honors the belief that Jesus’ mother Mary, who is Mexico’s patron saint, appeared to a man in Mexico City twice in 1531.

December 14 — Last Day of Chanukah

The last day of Hanukkah is the eighth day of Hanukkah, known as Zose Hanukkah, Zos Hanukkah or Zot Hanukkah. It is a particularly special day because it encapsulates all of Hanukkah.

December 23 — Festivus

“A Festivus for the rest of us!”

Festivus is both a parody and a secular holiday that serves as an alternative to the materialism and commercialism that sometimes goes along with the holiday season. Festivus first emerged in an episode of Seinfeld called “The Strike”.

December 24 — The Prophet’s Birthday

Eid Milad ul-Nabi (Mawlid, Miladun-Nabi) celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s life. It falls on the 12th or 17th day of the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-awwal. Some Muslims in the United States mark this occasion by fasting or holding communal meals, special prayers or outdoor celebrations.

December 24 — Christmas Eve

For many Christians, Christmas Eve is a day to remember the events around the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s also the night that the mythical figure Santa Claus comes down the chimney to leave gifts for good girls and boys. Legend has it that those who are or were naughty only receive coal from Santa. Families also often leave cookies and milk for Santa.

December 25 — Christmas Day

Christmas Day is the day Christians reserve to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Many celebrate by opening gifts left by Santa Claus from the night before.

December 26 — Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday honoring African culture and traditions. It falls between December 26 and January 1 each year. Maulana Karenga, an African-American leader, proposed this observance and it was first celebrated between December 1966 and January 1967.

December 31 — New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve, which is on December 31, is the last day of the year in the United States. It is a major social observance and many parties are held, particularly in the evening to ‘bring in the new year.’

January 1 — New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day falls on January 1 and marks the start of a new year, according to the Gregorian calendar. It marks the end of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the United States and gives many Americans a chance to remember the previous year. People also set ‘resolutions’ to create new, better habits in the coming year.

Happy celebrating!

If we missed a holiday you think belongs on this list, send an email to us at

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You can check out other 8News RVA Holiday Happiness articles here.

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