Have you ever looked at a state calendar and wondered where all the holidays came from?  There are many public holidays recognized in the US.

Here in Alaska, it is Sewards Day, the day in which we celebrate William H Seward and his great folly.  This is not to be confused with Alaska Day, October 18th, the day which Alaska became a state.   Did you know that only 4 other states officially celebrate their statehood? Hawaii, Nevada, Texas and West Virgina are the others.

Some holidays are confusing.

As a state classified as High Desert and Great Plains, its funny that Nebraska is the only state who officially celebrates Arbor Day.

Some states have Presidents Day while others celebrate Washington and Lincolns Birthday separately.

Confederate Day can range in dates from a very specific January 19 (TX, really celebrating Gen. Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis’ birthday together), to 3rd Monday in January (to celebrate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in AR) to April 26th or the Last Monday in April to commemorate the surrender of General Joseph Johnston(confederate) to General William Sherman (union) on April 26, 1865 (AL, FL, GA, MS).  In NC and SC, the 10th of May is marked to remember the death of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in 1863 and the capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis in 1865.  In VA, Confederates Day is remembered along side Memorial Day on the last Monday in May. June 3rd is Jefferson Davis’ birthday (really) and is celebrated in KY, LA, TN and MD (more accurately, the 1st Saturday in June for MD).  In truth, there are only 7 states who recognize Confederate Memorial Day as an official state holiday, AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC and TX, but as you can see from the above, there are a variety of dates it could fall.  GA even officially takes “Black Friday” off in lieu of Robert E. Lee’s Birthday (Jan. 19th)

Native American Day is officially celebrated in CA and SD (4th Friday in September and 2nd Monday in October, respectively) and means very different things.  In CA, it is more of a recognition day while in SD, the holiday replaces Columbus Day.  In MD there is Native American Heritage Day, the day after Thanksgiving, created in 2008.  Not to be found on any official list is Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, celebrated on February 16th here in AK.   It is in memory of Peratrovich, as I am sure you guessed, and commemorates her advocacy for Native Alaskans civil rights.

Lots of states have holidays celebrating their history.  TX has the most partial staffing or optional holidays as it recognises both a battle for and the final declaration of independence from Mexico as well as its statehood.  They also note Juneteenth, Cesar Chavez Day and LBJ Day in addition to the other standard holidays.  There are American Revolution holidays some Northeastern states and a Town Hall Meeting Day in VT.  UT celebrates Pioneer Day and HI has Prince Kuhio Day and Kamehameha Day.

Some holidays have been hotly contested: Victory Day is one and now only Rhode Island officially marks its passage.

My employer provides many different days as holidays.  In addition to the traditional Catholic/Protestant Christian holidays, we also have off most Russian Orthodox Christian holidays as well.  Sometimes these fall on the same date but often then do not.  I enjoy marking both…Solsti? Solstices? Whatever the longest and shortest days are called in plural 🙂  Not from any pagan beliefs (though I would love to be at Stonehenge for either sunrise!), but because I am so happy to mark the gain or loss of daylight.

No matter what holiday you have upcoming, I know that we all want the same things for our days off: Nice weather in which to enjoy the day.  Not bloody likely here today where it is gusty, below freezing and grey.  A little cooperation is all I ask!  You watch.  Tomorrow it will be brilliant.


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