New Year/New Year Eve - New Year Eve is more of a holiday than New Year. New Year Eve on December 31st, New Year on January 1st. We stay up all night, write resolutions, wait till midnight then go out of your house and shout to all of your neighbors “Happy New Year!” At least that’s how we did it when I was growing up.
My family personally had a tradition where we kept ourselves up all night by playing Mexican Train dominoes, so I suggest if you make an American celebrate New Year with his/her family, that you give them personal traditions their family does to pass the time till midnight.
Valentine’s Day - February 14th if you’re writing about a child, I don’t know how elementary schools are now, but when I was a child, we’d have school, then at the end of the day we’d pass out cards then we’d have a party with lots of homemade hearts.
St. Patrick’s Day - March 17th. You wear green and a lot of adults celebrate by going to the bar and drinking whiskey and beer. The childhood game with St Patrick’s Day is if you’re not wearing green that day, anyone is allowed to pinch you.
April Fools Day - April 1st. This is the holiday of the pranksters and jokesters. A day to pull pranks on your friends. Not a major holiday.
Mother’s Day - 2nd Sunday in May. Typically celebrated by taking mothers out to eat (or cooking for them) and giving them a gift (or several if you so-choose) with a card that you most likely bought at Hallmark.
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May. A day to celebrate those that have died fighting for our country. I never actually had any traditions for this holiday, so anybody that maybe has, some insight on how to have characters celebrate this one would be appreciated.
Father’s Day - 3rd Sunday in June. Typically celebrated by taking fathers out to eat (or cooking for them) and giving them a gift (or several if you so-choose) with a card that you most likely bought at Hallmark or the local grocery store.
Independence Day/Fourth of July - July 4th. Typically celebrated by lighting off fireworks at the end of the day after being obnoxiously patriotic all day.
Labor Day - First Monday in September. Lots of schools schedules are centered around the date Labor Day falls on. My school (in Washington) always started the week after Labor Day. I never had any traditions for this holiday either so any insight on how to celebrate this one would be appreciated too.
Halloween - October 31st. Celebrated by taking children out trick-or-treating or going to a costume party. Often celebrated with haunted houses, haunted cornmazes, and other scary stuff like that. Some also celebrate by dressing up during their sexy time that night. Some people are “too good” to dress up at a costume party, so if you’re writing about a costume party, you might wanna mention the one or two people that were there without a costume.
Veterans Day - November 11th. A day to celebrate the lives of those that have fought bravely for our country. Some schools hold an assembly where they appreciate the veterans that are related to their students (so if a student has a grandfather, they’re invited to the assembly to get appreciated by everyone).
Thanksgiving - Fourth Thursday of November. The time of year to be thankful. A lot of families will go around the table once, having everybody tell one thing they’re thankful for that year (some even go so far as to say “nothing material.”). There’s always a huge dinner where everybody is left stuffed over-the-top. Common foods to cook are beets, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie. Some families (A LOT of families) will watch the football game. Most families will eat at the table, which they never eat at during the rest of the year.
Christmas - December 25th. Some people start the celebration the night before by opening one Christmas gift (some have the rule “it has to be from Santa”). Then on Christmas morning, the family will gather in one room (or they might go to a family member’s house every year). Lots of families will open their stockings first, which are stuffed with like candies and small gifts, some stock small lotions. There will be a Christmas tree, which has the gifts all under it. Some families are really stickler about “it has to be real” while some use fake trees every year. Remember that some families don’t have the money for a tree, so they might have a different tradition or they might make a make-shift tree. Putting up a tall tree in a town square, caroling, and Christmas music.
Each year on 17th March, Algy dyes his hair green in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, as many of his friends are at least partly Irish :)
As he dozed happily on top of the dunes, watching the Quiet Burn down below winding its way slowly across its sandy bed to the sea, Algy noticed that all the winter-brown grasses had turned bright green too. He dreamed that he had flown across the sea to the Emerald Isle, which was not so very far away, and was reclining on the green grass there, watching the Irish skylarks dancing reels in the sky as they sang their lovely songs in Gaeilge…
Algy wishes all his Irish and part-Irish friends around the world a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day today xo