Happy Memorial Day, the federal holiday and unofficial kick off to summer.

Memorial Day is one to honor those who died in war while serving in the United States Military.

Back in the 1800s it was designated as a holiday to honor members of the military who died in the Civil War.

Interestingly, Memorial Day is also called Decoration Day. While many towns claim that they initiated this special final Monday in the month of May, Waterloo, NY was declared as the birthplace of the Memorial Day Holiday by Congress back in 1996, putting much argument to rest.

While Memorial Day is certainly an important time to honor the lives of those who served the United States and died in their efforts, it is also a time of much festivity in the U.S. – again, the “unofficial” kickoff to summer (the first day of summer is actually June 21).

With the three-day weekend, many Americans spend the extra time off traveling, visiting family or relaxing on a beach, in a park, or on a boat.

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Gas prices tend to be higher throughout the summer months with many people on the road, and this year is no exception. Prices at the pump are the highest they’ve been since Memorial weekend 2014, with states in the Midwest, such as Michigan, seeing the sharpest increases.

Those who aren’t spending money on gas might be spending money on some of the many Memorial Day weekend sales.

Sort of strange in light of the purpose of the holiday, and in true American fashion, people love to shop.

Many stores and online retailers have specials going, from 35 percent off furniture on Amazon to discounts at clothing stores such as Forever 21, Nike, and Cole Haan. Even Hello Fresh, the home meal kit delivery service, has a promo for the holiday weekend.

Regardless of how you choose to spend your long weekend (if you are lucky enough to have an extra day off) we hope you have a good one and enjoy the (unofficially) kickoff of summer.