Throughout the year, au pairs and host families have many opportunities to share traditions over holidays. Some holidays have religious or seasonal origins, while some are created to commemorate historical events, like Memorial Day. Celebrating Memorial Day with an au pair is a wonderful way to share history, culture and traditions that are intrinsic to the U.S.
Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971, but the origins of this holiday are found in the aftermath of the Civil War. After this bloodiest war in U.S. history, communities would gather in spring to visit cemeteries to pay their respects to the multitudes of soldiers lost in that conflict. They would decorate graves with flowers and flags in honor of the fallen, and this annual event became known as Decoration Day.
Over time, Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day. It became a federal holiday in 1971 and has been held the last Monday in May ever since. Across the nation, people still visit cemeteries to decorate graves and honor men and women lost in military conflict. Many Memorial Day parades are held in communities large and small to pay tribute to the sacrifice of so many.
Although this holiday has very serious purpose, it is also a time of celebration. Memorial Day marks the start of summer. Pools open, the school year is wrapping up, and family and friends gather for cookouts, vacations and outdoor fun.
What are your plans this year for Memorial Day? Do you have anything special planned with your children? Will you march in or attend a parade? How about a cookout or vacation to mark the unofficial start of summer? What sorts of things would you plan with an au pair to help them learn some of the history and importance of the holiday? Let us know by leaving a reply below. We’d love to hear from you!