Patriots’ Day! Patriots’ Day is an official commonwealth holiday in Massachusetts commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. The holiday was originally celebrated on April 19, the actual anniversary of the battles (fought in 1775).
Since 1969, it has been observed on the third Monday in April in Massachusetts and in Maine (where it’s called Patriot’s Day – notice the change in location of apostrophe ). (Bonus Fact, until 1820 Maine was part of Massachusetts, hence their celebration of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts holiday). The Monday holiday creates a three-day long weekend. It is also the first day of a vacation week for public schools in both states and a school holiday for many local colleges and universities, both public and private.
Observances and re-enactments of the battles occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts (around 6:00 am) and the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts (around 9:00 am). In the morning, mounted re-enactors with state police escorts retrace the Midnight Rides of Paul Revere and William Dawes, calling out warnings the whole way.
Commonwealth vs State? From 1776 to 1780 the words State of Massachusetts Bay appeared on the top of all acts and resolves. In 1780, the Massachusetts Constitution went into effect. Part Two of the Constitution, under the heading Frame of Government states: “that the people … form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Commonwealths are states, but the reverse is not true – States are not Commonewalths. The term Commonwealth does not describe or provide for any specific political status or legal relationship when used by a state. Those that do use it are equal to those that do not.
Legally, Massachusetts is a commonwealth because the term is contained in the Constitution.
Three other states are also commonwealths:
- Virginia (June 29, 1776)
- Pennsylvania (September 25, 1776)
- Kentucky (Commonwealth added in the Third Kentucky Constitution of 1850)
Seeing as Rabbit Valley was located in Massachusetts for a great number of years, we will not be shipping orders today in observance of this holiday.