Martin Luther King Day 2025: When is Martin Luther King Day 2025 & 2026?

Below you can find dates of Martin Luther King Day 2025 and Martin Luther King Day 2026. In the table you can check how many days you have been on holiday, which week is the holiday and which day of the month.

When is ..? Date Day of the week Week Number Day left
Martin Luther King Day 2024 January 15, 2024 Monday 03 Passed
Martin Luther King Day 2025 January 20, 2025 Monday 04 212
Martin Luther King Day 2026 January 19, 2026 Monday 04 576
Martin Luther King Day 2027 January 18, 2027 Monday 03 940
Martin Luther King Day 2028 January 17, 2028 Monday 03 1304
Martin Luther King Day 2029 January 15, 2029 Monday 03 1668
Martin Luther King Day 2030 January 21, 2030 Monday 04 2039
Martin Luther King Day 2031 January 20, 2031 Monday 04 2403
Martin Luther King Day 2032 January 19, 2032 Monday 04 2767
Martin Luther King Day 2033 January 17, 2033 Monday 03 3131
Martin Luther King Day 2034 January 16, 2034 Monday 03 3495

Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day also known as King Day or MLK Day is a federal holiday celebrated annually on the third Monday of January (around his birthday on January 15) in the United States. In some states this holiday is also commonly referred to as Civil Rights Day or Human Rights Day. The aim of Martin Luther King Day is to commemorate the birthday of American civil rights leader Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and celebrates his life, achievements and legacy.


Martin Luther King Day Background

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929. His parents named him as Michael King, Jr. when he was born. However, his father Michael King Sr. later changed his name to Martin Luther King in honor of the Protestant religious leader. His son, Martin Luther King, Jr. followed his father's lead and changed his name as well. In 1953, Martin Luther King married Coretta Scott and they had four children. Martin Luther King, Jr. earned a doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955. In the late 1950's, he became a leader in the civil rights movement working to end segregation. On August 28, 1963, he delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech to more than 200,000 people at the March on Washington.


He strongly advocated his hope that all people could be treated as equals regardless of their race and he believed that non-violent protests could be possible. He started a huge movement against the racism and inequality. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Tragically, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated four years later on April 4, 1968.


The idea of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations. After King's death, U.S. Representative John Conyers (a Democrat from Michigan) and U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (a Republican from Massachusetts) introduced a bill in Congress to make King's birthday a national holiday. In 1979, Coretta Scott King speaks before Congress and joint hearings of Congress in a campaign to pass a holiday bill. A petition for the bill receives 300,000 signatures, and President Jimmy Carter supports passage of a bill. The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979.  But the House fails to pass Conyers' King Holiday bill by five votes. Soon after, the King Center turned to support from the corporate community and the general public. The success of this strategy was cemented when musician Stevie Wonder released the single "Happy Birthday" to popularize the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace Press Conference in 1981. Six million signatures were collected for a petition to Congress to pass the law.


President Ronald Reagan actually opposed the holiday, citing cost concerns. When asked to comment on Helms' accusations that King was a communist, the president said "We'll know in thirty-five years, won't we?", in reference to the eventual release of FBI surveillance tapes that had previously been sealed. But on November 2, 1983, Reagan signed a bill, designating the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring him, his life and his legacy. The holiday was to begin in 1986. The bill also established the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee observance of the holiday, and Coretta Scott King, King's wife, was made a member of this commission for life by President George H. W. Bush in May 1989. Many people celebrate the holiday by volunteering in their communities as a way of honoring the civil rights leader by giving back.


Martin Luther King Day Celebrations

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Marade. Participants congregate at the Dr. King memorial site in City Park in the morning. The "Marade" (the word refers to combination of march and parade) begins at 10 a.m. with participants marching together to Civic Center Park, where cake is served. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. yearbook is signed at the Colorado State Capitol Building.


  • Schools celebrate Martin Luther King and his dream. Each January many schools celebrate the life of Martin Luther King by bringing to life his words and his dream.


  • Museums in Cleveland, Ohio, are offering guests free entry in the Martin Luther King Day. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curates programs specifically for MLK Day including film screenings, performances, and a lesson on music of the Civil Rights Movement. Those attending can also donate hats, gloves, coats, and scarves to a local charity that helps children in need.


  • Located in the eastern end of Exposition Park, the California African American Museum (CAAM) CAAM presents the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Highlights of the family-friendly event include kids art-making activities, a Women of the Civil Rights Movement panel, a marathon reading of Dr. King's speeches.


Martin Luther King Day Customs and Traditions

Martin Luther King Day is a relatively new federal holiday and there are few long standing traditions. Its traditions are rooted in the idea of promoting equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their background.

Some schools celebrate the day by teaching their pupils or students about the work of Martin Luther King and the struggle against racial segregation and racism. In recent years it is encouraged that Americans to give some of their time on this day as volunteers in citizen action groups.

Cities all over the country is celebrated Martin Luther King Day by holding massive parades, receptions, and days of service in his honor.


Martin Luther King Day Facts


  • For his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a state-of-the-art sound system was installed that day, but the systems were sabotaged just before the event started. Luckily, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked the Army Corps of Engineers to correct it in time, and the conversation went from a situation no one could hear, to a situation that everyone knew by heart.


  • Martin Luther King had his first experience of segregation at just six years old, when he was told he wasn’t allowed to play with his white friend anymore – his friend’s father wouldn’t allow it!


  • He was a great believer in peaceful protest, inspired by the Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi. His protests used no-violent tactics, even when the protesters themselves were met with violence from the police.


  • Towards the end of his life, Martin Luther King had switched his focus from civil rights to campaigns to end poverty and stop the Vietnam War. Many of his liberal allies felt alienated by his stance on the war.


  • On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while he was standing on the second-floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was shot by James Earl Ray. The Lorraine Motel, where he was killed, is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.


  • The Trenton Riots of 1968 were a major civil disturbance that took place during the week following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King in Memphis on April 4. Race riots broke out nationwide following the murder of the civil rights activist.


  • After his death, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.


  • In 1983 a new U.S. federal holiday dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. The holiday was first observed three years later in 1986. At first, some states were reluctant to adopt the new holiday, but since the year 2000, all 50 states have celebrated Martin Luther King Day.


Martin Luther King Day Symbols

There is no material symbol for Martin Luther King Day. Since it is a very strong spiritual day, the most important symbol of this public holiday is Martin Luther King himself and what he has been trying to do all his life. Equality, justice, peace, solidarity, unity, civil rights, equal right to life, brotherhood, war with poverty, happy children, independent women are the most important symbols of the Martin Luther King Day.


There is a monument that is very meaningful to visit on Martin Luther King Day and designed to remind Martin Luther King and his thoughts. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is situated on a four-acre site along the National Mall's Tidal Basin, adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and shares a direct line of sight between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Its official address is 1964 Independence Avenue SW, in honor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark legislation in which King played an important role. Opened to the public in 2011, the memorial is the fourth in Washington, DC to honor a non-president and the first to honor a man of color. Surrounding the statue of Dr. King is a 450-foot long Inscription Wall, which features 14 quotes from King’s speeches, sermons and writings. Although it has hundreds of visitors in Martin Luther King Day every year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no fee to visit. There are always dozens of people around the monument who want to express their respect and gratitude to himself, his belief and his legacy.

Check out the Martin Luther King Day in the following years.