Holidays are a time when families like to come together to have a good time with one another and celebrate. In this series, journalist Burt Wolf takes a look at some of the most-popular American holidays -- including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and Independence Day -- and explains the history of the holidays and the traditions that have come to be associated with the celebrations through the years.
Why Thanksgiving didn't become a federal holiday until 1941; how the bald eagle became the national bird.
The world's largest collection of Hanukkah lamps; potato pancakes and doughnuts; the spinning dreidel.
How the Christmas tree got indoors; what the First Lady does for the holidays; how department stores create their magical windows.
Why the New Year begins on January 1; how noise keeps evil spirits away; why caviar is acceptable to eat on New Year's Eve but not New Year's Day.
A tour of Harlem, N.Y., and the Apollo Theater on amateur night; Abyssinian Church; down-home recipes.
Celebrating Chinese New Year; importance of cleaning the house before the New Year; Kitchen God; dumplings; Lion Dance.
Whether there really was a St. Valentine; how the Egyptians felt about love; the best places to find a Valentine.
Shrovetide; the Reveler's Ball begins the season of Carnival in New Orleans; the society of the Krewe of Comus; pecan pralines.
The Jewish holiday of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt; Hassidic community; scribe; matzah.
Decorating eggs for Easter; Easter eggs created for the Czars of Russia; Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday.
A trip to Boston, where the American Revolution began; the site where the Declaration of Independence was first read to Boston citizens.
The Muslim celebration of Ramadan; fasting; the art of henna designs; mosques.
How ancient celebrations evolved and changed from their traditional forms once America became free.