Casimir Pulaski Day

Next Monday, 4 March 2024

Casimir Pulaski Day is a legal holiday in Illinois, celebrated on the first Monday of March. Thus, it will be observed on 6th March 2023. Businesses and schools remain open and follow normal working hours. 

The holiday commemorates the birth of Casimir Pulaski, a Polish Born soldier who was essential to the United States victory during the Revolutionary War for independence. He is known as “the father of American Cavalry”.

Casimir Pulaski Day is celebrated grandly in Illinois every year. 

Equestrian statue of Casimir Pulaski in Washington
Statue of Casimir Pulaski in Washington

About Casimir Pulaski

Born Kazimierz Pulaski in Waka, Poland, on March 4, 1747, Pulaski followed in his father’s footsteps and became a military commander, aiding the Polish Army against Russian rule. During his battles, he gained a noble reputation as a skilled soldier.

However, after being accused of plotting to kill the King, he was forced to exile and sought refuge in different countries across the world. Finally, he met Benjamin Franklin who helped him join the American army.

He joined George Washington’s army, and after a victory against the British during the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, was promoted to commander of the cavalry. After that, he led his cavalry to break the British siege in South Carolina successfully and was sent on a rally with French Allies. However, the French were losing on the battlefield, and after joining the battle to encourage the soldiers, he was hit and killed by a cannonball.  

Casimir Pulaski died on October 11, 1779, and was buried at sea. 

He was granted honorary US Citizenship he Congress in 2009, an order that President Barack Obama signed. Thus, he finally got the recognition he deserved after about 230 years of his death.  

Why is Casimir Pulaski Day a holiday in Illinois?

The 19th century saw a big wave of Polish immigrants arriving every morning in the city of Chicago. Thousands of citizens were coming into the country every year and faced discrimination by Americans. 

In the 1930s, the Polish immigrants began using Pulaski as a symbol of heroism, who was essential in helping the American Revolution, in an attempt to change the image of the Polish population in the eyes of American citizens. 

The Polish American Congress successfully lobbied for a day to celebrate Casimir Pulaski, and on September 13, 1977, the state of Illinois passed a law that created an observance to commemorate the birthday of Pulaski. The first official celebration of Casimir Pulaski day occurred the following year, 1978. 

It wasn't until 1985 that Casimir Pulaski Day became a public holiday, although as of 2012 schools in Chicago no longer observe this day or have the day off. The city of Chicago commemorated the first Pulaski Day in 1986. 

Celebrating Casimir Pulaski DayCasimir Pulaski Day

The Polish population in Illinois celebrates Pulaski day by throwing public ceremonies and parades and holding commemorative fairs. 

Most schools conduct classes to teach about the life and accomplishments of Casimir Pulaski. Casimir Pulaski. 

Casimir Pulaski Day has recently gained notoriety because of a Sufjan Stevens song with the same name. In the song, the lyrics talk about one of the musician's friend's death that happened on this holiday. 

Casimir Pulaski Day
Casimir Pulaski Day

Casimir Pulaski Day 2024

Date: Monday, 03 March 2025

Date: Monday, 02 March 2026

Date: Monday, 01 March 2027

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