Patriots' Day (officially Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Wisconsin and Patriot's Day in Maine) is an official state holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
The holiday was originally celebrated on April 19, the actual anniversary of the battles (fought in 1775). Since 1969, it has been observed on the third Monday in April in Massachusetts and in Maine (which until the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was part of Massachusetts). The Monday holiday creates a three-day long weekend. It is also the first day of a vacation week for public schools in both states and a school holiday for many local colleges and universities, both public and private.
The day is a public school observance day in Wisconsin. Florida law also encourages people to celebrate it, though it is not treated as a public holiday. Connecticut begins observance in 2018.
Observances and re-enactments of the battles occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts (around 6:00 am) and the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts (around 9:00 am). In the morning, mounted re-enactors with state police escorts retrace the Midnight Rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, calling out warnings the whole way.
The biggest celebration of Patriots' Day is the Boston Marathon, which has been run every Patriots' Day since April 19, 1897 to mark the then-recently established holiday, with the race linking the Athenian and American struggles for liberty (marathons being so named after the Greek Battle of Marathon).
In 1894 the Lexington Historical Society petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature to proclaim April 19 as "Lexington Day." Concord countered with “Concord Day.” Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge opted for a compromise: Patriots' Day. Patriots' Day was first proclaimed in Massachusetts in 1894 by Gov. Greenhalge replacing Fast Day as a public holiday. The idea was introduced to the Governor by the statesman from Lowell, Isaac Henry Paige. It was established on April 19, commemorating the date of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, and consolidating the longstanding municipal observances of Lexington Day and Concord Day. It also marked the first bloodshed of the American Civil War in the Baltimore riot of 1861, during which four members of the Massachusetts militia were slain and 36 injured. The dual commemoration, Greenhalge explained, celebrated "the anniversary of the birth of liberty and union." In 1938, with the generation that had fought in the Civil War largely off the voter rolls, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill establishing the holiday "in commemoration of the opening events of the War of the Revolution."
Maine followed Massachusetts in 1907 and replaced its Fast Day with Patriot's Day. On June 10, 2017, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill establishing Patriots' Day as a statewide unpaid holiday in Connecticut. This means that starting April 2018, Connecticut will be the 4th state to recognize the holiday.
The Boston Red Sox have been scheduled to play at home in Fenway Park on Patriots' Day every year since 1959. The games were postponed due to weather in 1959, 1961, 1965, 1967, and 1984, and canceled in 1995 because of the late start to the season. From 1968 to 2006 the games have started early, in the morning, around 11:00 am. The early start to these games usually resulted in the game ending just as the marathon is heading through Kenmore Square. However, since 2007 the marathon has started between 9:30 am and 10:00 am, resulting in the racers going through Kenmore towards the middle of the Red Sox game.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patriots' Day.|