Federal holidays 2019: When are they and how many do you get this year?

Chelsea Ritschel
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With November here, it means it's time to embrace winter as we move into the last few months of the year.

In addition to cooler weather, changing leaves, and the promise of snow, the month of November also brings us closer to the next federal holiday.

On November 28, Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving, a celebration of gratitude complete with food, family, and friends.

The holiday was first celebrated by colonists, also known as Pilgrims, in Virginia and Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the early 1600s. It was not until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Federal holidays, often observed with paid-time off from work, were created by Congress in 1885 when it was decided that federal employees should have certain days off from work.

As time went by, Congress realised how nice it was to have paid-time off – and added historical days of significance to the list of federal holidays, bringing the total number to 10.

And, to ensure that Americans get the chance to celebrate the holidays no matter what day they fall on, there are guidelines for observing.

Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed by federal employees on the previous Friday, whereas holidays that fall on Sunday are observed the following Monday.

On these days, non-essential federal government offices are closed and banks, post offices and schools may also be closed.

For employees in the private sector, federal holidays may or may not mean a day off – as they cannot legally be required to observe the holiday. Fortunately, most employers will still give employees the day off – or pay extra to employees working on the day.

These are the days to mark on your calendar for the coming year – and the best days to book a long weekend.

2019 Federal holidays:

New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1

Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.: Monday, January 21

Birthday of George Washington (President’s Day): Monday, February 18

Memorial Day: Monday, May 27

Independence Day: Thursday, July 4

Labor Day: Monday, September 2

Columbus Day: Monday, October 14

Veterans' Day: Monday, November 11

Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 28

Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25

Other important holidays to note that you don’t get off for:

Groundhog Day: Saturday, February 2

Valentine’s Day: Thursday, February 14

Saint Patrick’s Day: Sunday, March 17

Tax Day: Monday, April 15

Good Friday: Friday, April 19

Easter: Sunday, April 21

Cinco de Mayo: Sunday, May 5

Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 12

Father’s Day: Sunday, June 16

Halloween: Thursday, October 31

Black Friday: Friday, November 29

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