The Federal US calendar recognizes 10 holidays each year. Whether for historical or religious purposes, these holidays are recognized for observance––in hopes citizens will spend that time appreciating the historical events that fell on that day years prior. Guidelines were created for observing that ensures everyone has a day off dedicated to the specific holiday.
But that’s not what is happening. Despite the given day off, citizens are not spending their time in remembrance. If the holiday isn’t heavily commercialized or normalized as a celebration, then citizens are less likely to dedicate time appreciating it. Not that we can force citizens to honor each holiday, but it may be time to replace and add additional dates that are important to citizens.
We believe the importance of holidays should have a larger significance in American’s lives, but that cannot happen without inclusivity.
Unlike previous generations, young adults are not as enthusiastic about patriotism and religion. A study showed that only nine percent of millennials identified patriotism as ‘very important.’ In fact, surveyed millennials ranked social issues, healthcare, education and employment as the most important causes to them. It’s no secret that today’s teens have different values than their elders, and we don’t have to pretend that only ten holidays can represent the diverse culture America holds.
Times are changing and it impacts what teens feel compelled to value or honor. We cannot be expected to care about history, especially when it does not represent more than a handful of Americans. Rather than observing days like President’s Day, other holidays should be added that would represent different cultures, like observance for Hanukkah, Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
As a country that honors their freedom and diversity, we need to do a better job at being inclusive to more Americans. When citizens are represented and feel seen, they will be more comfortable expressing themselves. We should come to a consensus on which holidays should be kept and which ones should be replaced, because our values are changing.
Without holidays, we would have nothing to celebrate and commemorate from those that sacrificed to achieve the society we have now. Even if it is something simple like doing our research, educating others or attending a parade, we should be more mindful of the world around us and the history that influences our lives today.