Many of you outside the northeast may be unaware but today in Massachusetts (and Maine), public workers and school kids have the day off to celebrate Patriot’s Day -the two-state holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord; the events that kicked off the American Revolution in April, 1775. It’s also the day that the rest of us in New England, bitter and disgruntled, feel cheated for not having a ”made-up holiday” like Patriot’s Day. So in honor of the day and in the spirit of made-up holidays (sorry to my Massachusetts (and Maine) friends), I thought why not take a break from blogging about media and the print industry. Instead, today, we’ll look at other made-up holidays (a.k.a. important state traditions) from around the country.
Alaska -Seward’s Day (March 28th, thereabouts) – The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867. Seward’s Day celebrates Secretary of State William Seward’s signing of the treaty that made Alaska officially a part of the U.S.
Texas -Texas Independence Day (March 2nd)- In case you didn’t know Texas was once an independent country, Texas celebrates a holiday to remind you. The kids don’t get the day off from school but some state workers do have the day off. The Texas Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Texas -San Jacinto Day (April 21st)-As they say, everything is big in Texas. This goes for state holidays as well. In addition to celebrating their declaration of independence, they also celebrate the day they won the battle of San Jacinto; the victory that won Texas’ independence from Mexico. San Jacinto is an official state holiday, meaning all public workers and school kids have the day off.
Hawaii -King Kamehameha Day (June 11th)- King Kamehameha Day is an official state holiday in Hawaii. It’s a day that Hawaiians celebrate their rich heritage and history. It’s the only official holiday in America that celebrates the life and contributions of a royal figure.
Utah – Pioneer Day (July 24th)- Pioneer Day is an official state holiday in Utah, commemorating the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. They made the treacherous winter journey from Illinois to Utah, in 1847, to escape religious persecution and start anew.
Nevada -Nevada Day (October 31st)- Apparently October 31st is extra special in Nevada. Along with Halloween, it’s ”Nevada Day,” an official state holiday. It commemorates October 31st, 1864, the day Nevada was admitted to statehood. Apparently Nevada has by far the largest statewide celebration of its admission to statehood. As far as ”made-up” holidays go, Nevada has as good as a reason to take a day as anyone.
There you have it. Our unofficial list of all the odd-ball state holidays from around the country. I know I skipped a few in Texas, but c’mon, how many does one state really need anyway? If I missed one, please mention it in the comments below. Thanks.
Post by Jim Jinks