Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots Day as a state holiday. It is in honor of the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War, the battles of Lexington and Concord. Patriot's Day is not a federal holiday, however. And Patriot's Day is different from Patriot Day. Patriot Day is always on September 11th, in remembrance of the victims of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001.
Patriot's Day is actually April 19th, but it is observed on the third Monday in April. In 2012 Patriot's Day is on Monday, April 16th. In 2013 it will be April 15th.
There are some wonderful celebrations held in Maine and Massachusetts for Patriot's Day. In Ogunquit, Maine, there is an annual celebration. At Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, a weekend celebration is held each year. At Lexington, a re-enactment of the battles of Lexington and Concord starts at dawn, when the first shots were fired in Lexington on April 19, 1775. (Tip: If you plan to attend, be sure to get there at least two hours in advance to get a good spot!)
Another event that honors Patriot's Day is the Boston Marathon, which takes place on the actual day - April 19th - each year.
It was on the night of April 18, 1775 that Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn that "the Regulars are out!". Contrary to the folklore told in "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere", he did not say "the British are coming". If he had said that, many would have been confused, because at that time, most colonists still considered themselves to be British. Paul Revere did travel by boat and horseback from his home in Boston, however, as did other patriots, including William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. Click to read more about Paul Revere's ride. If you want to read the famous poem, visit our "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" page.
The townspeople of Boston had another warning, and that was the two lanterns that were hung from Boston's North Church, to signal that the British troops were approaching by sea. By the time the British arrived in Lexington, there were around 70 Minutemen ready to fight on the Lexington Green. The "shot heard round the world" was fired around dawn on April 19th, beginning the American Revolutionary War.
If you can't visit Massachusetts or Maine during Patriot's Day, you can still watch the re-enactment on PBS's Patriot's Day (American Experience) . You can also view Patriots Day re-enactment videos like the ones below.