Forget old aquaintence...
May 9, 2011 6:42 AM   Subscribe

When did New Year's Day become an official U.S. holiday?

This seems like it should be an easy one, but for the life of me I can't find an answer. I've Googled around to no avail. Surely at some point in U.S. history, people got up on January 1st, hung over or not, and still had to go to work and/or school, etc. At some point -- in the 20th century? -- this changed. When was that?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit to Society & Culture (4 answers total)
The Congressional Research Service report on Federal Holidays says that New Year's Day was one of the first batch of five congressionally designated federal holidays approved in the 1870s (along with Washington's Birthday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day).
posted by Perplexity at 6:49 AM on May 9, 2011

Wiki has a table of other countries and years of adoption.
posted by likeso at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2011

New Year's Day appears to have been a holiday in the US for quite some time. As noted, Congress designated it as such in the 1870s. Previously.

That answer notes that the federal government doesn't actually get to set holidays for the nation, only for federal employees. As a matter of practice and convenience, most states have adopted laws which match up with federal holidays, but they really don't have to. The current list is found at 5 U.S.C. § 6103, and includes MLK day, President's Day, and Columbus Day, all of which are federal holidays, only some of which are recognized as official holidays by state governments and few of which are recognized as such by employers.

Basically, the federal government can't declare that everybody has a holiday on a particular day, as that would be beyond its power under Article I of the Constitution.
posted by valkyryn at 6:59 AM on May 9, 2011

Okay -- I'm good. Thanks, all!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:57 AM on May 9, 2011

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