Capitalizing Names of Holidays and Holiday Terms

Holidays, whether religious, secular, or national, are proper nouns and therefore should be capitalized. This includes all national holidays when businesses are closed, such as Columbus Day, and most religious and holy days, such as Hanukkah.

The holiday capitalization rules include whether you use the short or long form of the title. For example, both New Year’s Day and New Year’s are capitalized. This also includes related “eves” such as New Year’s Eve or Halloween Eve.

If you are using the holiday in a title or headline, any proceeding adjectives that are referencing the holiday, such as “Merry Christmas,” are also capitalized.

Here’s a list of some of the msot common holidays that are capitalized:

Advent

All Saints’ Day

Australia Day

Bastille Day

Boxing Day

Canada Day

Christmas (also Christmas Day and Christmas Eve)

Coming of Age Day (Japan)

Easter

Epiphany

Father’s Day

Good Friday

Hanukkah

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holy Thursday, Holy Saturday, Holy Week

Independence Day (US) also the Fourth of July and July Fourth

Kwanzaa

Labor Day (US)

Labour Day (Canada and other nations)

Lent

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (US)

Maundy Thursday

May Day

Memorial Day

Michaelmas (the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel)

Mother’s Day

New Year’s (also New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve)

Passover

Presidents’ Day

Purim

Ramadan

Remembrance Day

Rosh Hashanah

St George’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day (also Saint or St Patrick’s Day)

Thanksgiving (also Thanksgiving Day)

the High Holy Days

Twelfth Night

Valentine’s Day

Veterans Day (no apostrophe)

Victoria Day (Canada)

Victory Day (Russia)

Yom Kippur


Do these holiday capitalization rules always hold?

No. As with any rules, there are exceptions. When written in standard text, the following should not be capitalized.

  • happy birthday
  • happy Thanksgiving
  • happy holidays
  • happy anniversary
  • season’s greetings
  • happy or merry Christmas
  • happy New Year

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