Patriots’ Day is an annual holiday commemorated on the third Monday of April. It commemorates the Battle of Lexington and the Battle of Concord which took place on April 19, 1775, and were the first battles fought in the American Revolutionary War.
This day is not to be confused with Patriot Day, which happens on September 11 and remembers the anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Patriots’ Day is a public holiday in the states of Maine and Massachusetts, where people have the day off and schools and businesses are closed for the day. Even though other states in America observe this day, it is not a federal holiday.
Before the War for Independence, the colonies in the area around Boston were heavily controlled by British Rule. The people were unhappy with this, and as a response residents in those colonies took arms and went to battle against the British. So, on April 19, 1775, the fight for independence officially began, and the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired in the battles of Lexington and Concord. Unbeknownst at the time, these battles were the ones who originated the creation of the United States of America.
The key figure associated with Patriots’ Day is Paul Revere, a silversmith, who not only warned New York and Philadelphia about the Boston Tea party, he was also the one who rode to Lexington in the night to alert the people of the British invasion that was to happen in 1775.
Origins of the holiday
In 1864 the Lexington Historical Society called for April 19 to be known as “Lexington Day”. However, not thinking this was fair, the people in Concord thought it should be named “Concord Day”. Eventually, they compromised on Patriots’ Day.
Inspired by this, and wanting to replace Fast Day as a public holiday, as it was rarely observed, Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge thought it important to have a day that honored the bravery of the people who fought for independence. So, the holiday was renamed Patriots’ Day and moved to April 19. The day was also meant to commemorate the Baltimore Riot of 1861.
Following this, in 1907, the state of Maine also changed its Fast Day to Patriots’ Day.
Originally celebrated on the anniversary of the battles, April 19, the holiday was moved in 1969 to the third Monday in April to give workers a three-day weekend.
How the holiday is celebrated
To keep the memory of the battles alive, there are annual reenactments in Lexington and Concord, which reenact the fights and the events surrounding them. One of the most popular features of these events is the ringing of the original bell that warned troops that the British soldiers were coming.
There are also guided tours organized on this day, to the historical places essential to the battles.
The Boston Marathon
The world’s oldest annual marathon has been taking place on Patriots’ Day since 1897 and is one of the most well-known celebrations of the day, with thousands of spectators flocking to Boston to watch it, or following it on TV.
A movie by the name “Patriots’ Day” was released in 2016, and it depicts the tragic events that unfolded in 2013 when terrorists planted a bomb during the Boston Marathon.