The Most Popular Celebrations by U.S. State

Whether you love to feast with the family in November or deck the halls in December, there is no shortage of causes for celebration across America. And while every holiday has its own perks, we here at Shane Co. wanted to answer one question specifically: Which one is the most popular in each U.S. state?


To come up with an answer, we analyzed Google Trends search volume data in order to determine the top-searched holiday, national day, and more in every U.S. state. We started with the most popular holidays overall based on this list and a few major non-Christian holidays (35 terms in total). Additionally, we looked at “national days” starting from this list, vetting for only the days that had enough search volume and weren’t repetitive (for example, we solely did national pizza day rather than cheese pizza day, pepperoni pizza day, etc.).

A U.S. map plotting each state’s most searched for holiday

The Most Popular Holiday in Every U.S. State

While many states were represented by the holidays you’d likely expect (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day), there were many with much less popular holidays taking the number one spot. However, in several of these cases, there’s a possible explanation that we can explore…

For example, Washington D.C. having Memorial Day top their 2021 search history makes sense, considering the widely televised National Memorial Day Parade takes place in the district every year. New York being the state with the largest percentage of American-Jewish people probably explains it being the only state to have Hanukkah as its winning holiday. Kwanzaa also won just one state, Maryland, and this might be due to the creator of the historically African-American holiday, Dr. Maulana Karenga, being from there!

A chart displaying the total amount of states each holiday won

Christmas and Thanksgiving kept it very close in the race for first, while some American holiday staples fell surprisingly low. St. Patrick’s Day, Father’s Day, and even the Lunar New Year won three states each, while Valentine’s Day and Halloween both won only one.

The Most Popular National Day in Every U.S. State

A U.S. map plotting the most popular national day in each state

As we shift gears from holidays to national days, the variety of celebrations that had the highest search volume in one or more states grows tremendously. From National Sangria Day to National Cereal Day, the results are kind of all over the place, but let’s see if we can draw some possible regional connections anyway. 

Margaritas and tequila in the Mexican-infused cultures of Texas and California? That tracks. Doughnuts in New England (Maine, specifically) and lemonade in the hot, muggy, Deep South Louisiana? Sure thing! The Midwestern favorite foods that are potato chips and cake in Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin? It’s maybe a bit further of a stretch, but we think it checks out all right.  
But then there are the more … random ones. Delaware was the only state to have National Vodka Day as their most popular national day, and National Pasta Day won Montana and Montana only. Kentucky was the only state to proudly participate in National Tea Day, and candy was craved in Nebraska, but nowhere else. We think that based on these results, it’s safe to assume that people looking up wacky national days throughout the year is simply going to yield wacky Google Trends results a lot of the time.   

A chart displaying the total amount of states each national day won

Even though food was everywhere to be found here (we even have two more sections that are dedicated entirely to food and drink), both the number one and number two spots were taken by non-food national days: National Best Friend Day and National Hat Day. The margin between the two wasn’t very close, however, with National Best Friend day beating National Hat Day by three state wins.

National Dog Day came in third with three state wins total, and the non-food or beverage days that only won one or two states include National Trivia Day, National Napping Day, National Read Across America Day, and National Siblings Day. So if you’re a smart and sleepy type that loves reading and is close to your brother(s) and/or sister(s), maybe you’re just coming off of the best year ever?

The Most Popular National Food & Beverage Days

A graphic showing the winning national food days and the states that each won

If we get rid of the non-food or beverage national days and then separate that out into food and beverages, we’re given the above graphic which shows some national food days winning in some states that they didn’t before. These are states that had a non-food national day winner, so their highest ranking national food day was picked for this section instead.

National Pancake Day was the number one national food day in the overall contest, but when only national food days are looked at, pancakes are forced to share the crown with doughnuts. In a close second place is National Taco Day, but then a bit of a drop-off occurs as National Cake Day, National Potato Chip Day, and National Pizza Day take third, fourth, and fifth place with five, four, and three state wins, respectively.

A graphic showing the winning national beverage days and the states that each won

While it only won three states in the overall competition, once things went beverage-specific, tequila took over convincingly, placing first with 13 total state wins. National Wine Day took second place with 10 state wins, doubling its rival, fourth-placing National Beer Day, which had just five. National Coffee Day tied for fourth with beer, but perhaps the most interesting takeaway here was third-placing National Margarita Day winning nine states separately from tequila. This means that tequila was a part of 22 total national beverage day state wins! Did anyone else just acquire a sudden craving for lime?

Closing Thoughts

Even though it was close, Christmas reigned supreme as the king of American holidays, while National Best Friend Day ruled the American national days. Perhaps this is fitting as December 25th is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to snag the perfect gift for your best friend (or other special someone). Don’t wait: celebrate! 

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