Before the pandemic turned the world upside down, thousands of runners descended on Boston every year on the third Monday in April for the famous Boston Marathon.
This year, the marathon will return to its normally scheduled date for the first time since the start of the pandemic. But the legendary race has grown to eclipse the lesser-known holidays it celebrates.
The third Monday of every April is Patriots Day, a holiday recognized in a handful of states to commemorate the start of the American Revolution. In 2022, Patriots’ Day not only marks the return of the beloved Boston Marathon; it also gives residents of Massachusetts and Maine an extra day to file their taxes.
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What is Patriots Day?
In 1894, Massachusetts Governor Frederic Greenhalge proclaimed that Patriots’ Day would be observed each April 19 to honor the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the skirmishes of April 19, 1775, which started the American Revolutionary War.
In 1907, Maine followed suit and made Patriots Day a statewide holiday.
Both states celebrated Patriots’ Day on April 19 until 1969, when the holiday was moved to Monday to allow for a three-day weekend.
Government offices and public schools close in Massachusetts and Maine on Patriots Day. Festivities include re-enactments of the battles of 1775. Boston celebrates the holiday with the marathon and a parade.
The party took on added meaning after the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack killed three people.
The Boston Red Sox commemorate this day each year with a first game at Fenway Park.
A 2016 film titled “Patriots Day” starring Mark Wahlberg, a proud Bostonian, chronicles the 2013 attack.
Wisconsin became the third state to proclaim Patriots Day in 2001. It celebrates it every April 19, although it is not a legal state holiday. Public schools across the state observe the day by teaching early Revolutionary War gunfire in Lexington.
In 2017 Connecticut became the fourth state to officially celebrate Patriots Day. Like Massachusetts and Maine, it celebrates it on the third Monday in April. But like in Wisconsin, it’s not a holiday.
The four states are divided according to the appropriate punctuation. Massachusetts and Connecticut call it Patriots’ Day while Maine and Wisconsin opt for the singular Patriot’s Day.