When is Patriots' Day? This uniquely New England holiday, celebrated only in the states of Massachusetts and Maine, is always on the third Monday in April. Wisconsin also observes Patriots' Day as a public school holiday.
Remember the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" from history class? The phrase penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to the first armed engagement between the British soldiers and colonial militiamen at the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775.
Patriots' Day commemorates this opening engagement in the American Revolution, and initially, it was celebrated each year on April 19.
In 1969, however, the celebration of Patriots' Day was changed to the third Monday of April: We New Englanders love our three-day weekends! If you're planning ahead, here is a handy guide to Patriots' Day dates for 2017 and beyond.
Patriots' Day Date 2017 - 2021
Monday, April 17, 2017
Monday, April 16, 2018
Monday, April 15, 2019
Monday, April 20, 2020
Monday, April 19, 2021
How to Celebrate Patriots' Day in New England
There are several major events and many other activities that take place during Patriots' Day Weekend in Massachusetts and Maine, which was part of Massachusetts until it achieved independent statehood in 1820.
- Before the Battles of Lexington and Concord, you may recall that patriot extraordinaire Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn of the British advance. He looked to the steeple of Boston's Old North Church on the eve of April 18, 1775, for a lantern signal--"one if by land, and two if by sea"--as we know from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem. Each year since 1875--the 100th anniversary of that fateful night--the Old North Church has commemorated the event with a Lantern Ceremony: This year it will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 16, 2017, and tickets can be purchased online. Two lanterns will shine from the church steeple; there will be fife and drum music and a reading of Paul Revere's Ride; billionaire philanthropist and Carlyle group co-founder David Rubenstein will speak.
- The primary event associated with Patriots' Day is the Boston Marathon, which will be run for the 121st time in 2017. America's second oldest foot race draws both competitive runners and spectators. The eyes of the world will be on Boston on the fourth anniversary of the tragic bombings that occurred at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
- Traditionally, a Patriots' Day Parade is held in Concord, Massachusetts, on Patriots' Day. In 2017, a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington will also be held on Patriots' Day--April 17--at 5:30 a.m. These events are the culmination of a three-day holiday weekend of events commemorating the 242nd anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
- In Maine, a Patriots' Day Weekend Celebration featuring music, reenactments, historic hunts and more is held each year in Ogunquit. Dates for 2017 are April 21-23.
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