Maryland Day is celebrated on March 25 every year and is a state holiday in Maryland. It marks the arrival of the first settlers in Maryland, on this day in 1634, establishing the third English colony in America.
Maryland Day is not a public holiday. Thus, schools and businesses go about as usual. If the 25th of March happens to fall on a Sunday, the day is celebrated on the following Monday.
The History of the State of Maryland
Lord Baltimore, or Cecil Calvert, was the founder of the colony. On June 20, 1632, he received authorization from King Charles I to find a colony in his name. Calvert's wish was to have a colony where Roman Catholics could practice their religion, amongst all other faiths.
It was on March 25, 1634, when 150 European settlers led by Lord Baltimore, arrived on St. Clement's Island, in what would become the state of Maryland.
The settlers came from London, aboard two ships named the Dove and the Ark. The journey started on November 22, 1634, from Cowes, a seaport town on the Isle of Wight. After a few days, a storm broke out which separated both ships. The Ark drifted towards the Fortunate Islands (present-day Canary Islands).
After this, the ship sailed further toward the West and reached Barbados in West Indies on January 3. After three weeks, both ships were finally united and they sailed toward Virginia on February 27. After stocking up on all the essential supplies, they finally left for Chesapeake Bay, Maryland in early March.
Upon arrival on the island, they held a ceremony to give thanks for their safe arrival at their destination. The colony was named Mary-land after the King expressed his wish to have it named after his wife, Henrietta Maria. It later became just Maryland.
Maryland Day did not become widely celebrated until 1903, when Maryland schools began hosting activities and celebrations on March 25 to educate students on the history and origins of the state. This started spreading across the state, and in 1916 the General Assembly officially recognized Maryland Day as a legal holiday, to be commemorated by everyone in the state.
Maryland Day Celebrations
In schools, students learn about the history of the state, and state leaders pay visits to better educate children about their local histories on this day.
In St. Mary's City, the first colonial capital of the state, ceremonies, pageants, and reenactments are held to celebrate the arrival of the first settlers in 1634.
The biggest and most well-known celebration of this holiday is the annual Maryland Day Weekend celebration. It takes place in 20 places across Maryland, with as many as 40 events taking place throughout the weekend, where the heritage and culture of the state take center stage.
Maryland is the site of the first school ever founded in the United States, in 1696, as well as the first railroad station in America, which was built in 1830 in Baltimore.
It is also the founding place of the US Naval Academy, in 1845.