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Happy Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, celebrating the defeat of the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in Mexico in 1862. That wasn’t the end of the war with the French — they weren’t out of Mexico until 1867 — but it was a good start.

Pen on calendar page closeupIt’s “seen as a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background, who live in the United States”1 — and it is not an official holiday, anywhere.

Yesterday, on the other hand, the fourth of May, was Rhode Island Independence Day. It marks the passage of an act by the Rhode Island colonial legislature declaring Rhode Island an independent state on May 4, 1776.2

And it is an official state holiday in Rhode Island, so state and municipal offices may be closed.3

Which means, of course, that today would be just dandy as a day to set out to do research, except maybe you’d want to watch out for parades and street events in areas celebrating Cinco de Mayo. And yesterday would have been a lousy day to set out to do research in Rhode Island, but perfectly fine everywhere else.

So… what other gotchas are waiting out there, ready to catch us unaware when we set out to research?

The Legal Genealogist has already written about federal holidays and how — and when — they came to be, in “The law of holidays.”4 So we won’t revisit those. But state holidays… oh my there are a lot of those…

Here’s the list, according to TimeandDate.com:

Alabama:

• Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, state holiday celebrated January 19 or on the Monday of the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday.

• Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, last day before Lent (some counties only).

• Confederate Memorial Day, fourth Monday in April.

• Jefferson Davis Birthday, first Monday in June.

Alaska:

• Seward’s Day, last Monday in March.

• Alaksa Day, October 18 (or closest business day to that date).

Arizona:

• Civil Rights Day, third Monday in January, in conjunctionm with Martin Luther King Day.

Arkansas:

• Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, state holiday celebrated January 19 or on the Monday of the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday.

• Daisy Gatson Bates Day, third Monday in February, with Washington’s Birthday.

California:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

• César Chávez Day, March 31.

Connecticut:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Delaware:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

District of Columbia:

• Emancipation Day, April 16.

Florida:

• Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, state holiday (but not paid holiday for state workers) celebrated January 19 or on the Monday of the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

• Confederate Memorial Day, fourth Monday in April.

Georgia:

• Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, state holiday celebrated January 19 or on the Monday of the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday.

• Confederate Memorial Day, fourth Monday in April.

Hawaii:

• Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, or Prince Kuhio Day, March 26.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

• Kamehameha Day, June 11.

• Statehood Day, third Friday in August.

Idaho:

• Human Rights Day, January 19, in conjunctionm with Martin Luther King Day.

Illinois:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

• Casimir Pulaski Day, first Monday in March.

Indiana:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

• Lincoln’s Day, Friday after Thanksgiving.

• Primary Election Day, first Tuesday after first Monday in May in odd-numbered years.

Kentucky:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Louisiana:

• Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, last day before Lent.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Maine:

• Patriot’s Day, third Monday in April.

Maryland:

• American Indian Heritage Day, Friday after Thanksgiving.

Massachusetts:

• Evacuation Day, March 17.

• Patriot’s Day, third Monday in April.

• Bunker Hill Day, only in Suffolk County, June 17.

Mississippi:

• Robert E. Lee’s Birthday, state holiday celebrated January 19 or on the Monday of the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Missouri:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

• Truman Day, on or about May 8.

Nebraska:

• Arbor Day, last Friday in April.

Nevada:

• Nevada Day, last Friday of October.

New Hampshire:

• Civil Rights Day, third Monday in January, in conjunctionm with Martin Luther King Day.

New Jersey:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

New Mexico:

• President’s Day, Friday after Thanksgiving.

New York:

• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12.

North Carolina:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

• Confederate Memorial Day, May 10 (May 11 if May 10 is a Sunday).

North Dakota:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Pennsylvania:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Rhode Island:

• Rhode Island Independence Day, May 4.

• Victory Day, second Monday of August.

South Carolina:

• Confederate Memorial Day, May 10.

Tennessee:

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

Texas:

• Confederate Heroes Day, January 19.

• Texas Independence Day, March 2.

• Good Friday, last Friday before Easter.

• San Jacinto Day, April 21.

• Emancipation Day, June 19.

Utah:

• Pioneer Day, July 24.

Vermont:

• Town Meeting Day, first Tuesday of March.

• Bennington Battle Day, August 16 (or preceding Friday if a Saturday).

Virginia:

• Lee-Jackson Day, state holiday celebrated on the Friday before the federal Martin Luther King Day holiday, honoring both Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

West Virginia:

• Lincoln’s Day, Friday after Thanksgiving.

• West Virginia Day, June 20 (June 21, if June 20 is a Sunday).

So…. what did we miss?


SOURCES

  1. Cinco de Mayo in the United States,” Time and Date (http://www.timeanddate.com : accessed 4 May 2015).
  2. Phoebe Bean, “Happy R.I. Independence Day!,” A Lively Experiment blog, posted 4 May 2015, Rhode Island Historical Society (https://rihs.wordpress.com/ : accessed 4 May 2015).
  3. Rhode Island Independence Day in the United States,” Time and Date (http://www.timeanddate.com : accessed 4 May 2015).
  4. Judy G. Russell, “The law of holidays,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 18 Feb 2013 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 4 May 2015).
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