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A Brief History of Patriots' Day in Massachusetts

On the third Monday of every April (April 17 in 2023), Massachusetts and Maine (which was a part of the Bay State until it became its own state in 1820), celebrate a holiday called Patriots' Day. It honors the day the Revolutionary War began in 1775. Read more to learn a brief history and how you can join in the festivities.

Battle of Lexington, Credit: New York Public Library

The first battles of the Revolutionary War, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, were fought on April 19, 1775. For over a year prior, tensions had been building between British officials and the colonists living in Massachusetts. This was partly owing to the Boston Tea Party, which happened on December 16, 1773, and Parliament's heavy-handed response to the destruction of the tea. Many in Boston believed British troops planned to target the countryside to seize ammunition in the early morning hours of April 19. Paul Revere left the night before on his midnight ride to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams about the attack and to alarm neighboring towns. The battle happened in the early morning hours on April 19, with another fight happening later that day in nearby Concord. Learn more details about that day by joining one of our tours or read the book written by our founder, Brooke, Boston in the American Revolution: A Town Versus an Empire.

Statue at Lexington Green

These days on Patriots' Day, you can attend a reenactment of the battles in Lexington and Concord. The former begins before dawn and it gets crowded, so grab your Dunkin and plan to get there early. We also recommend attending the Red Sox game that begins every year at 11am. It's a very festive atmosphere despite it being a morning baseball game in April. After the game, head out to Kenmore Square and cheer on the Boston Marathon runners! The elite athletes will have already passed, so you'll be cheering for those that aren't used to having fans celebrating them.

We dare you not to choke up at least once on Patriots' Day, whether honoring the men who took on the king's soldiers nearly 250 years ago, or the strong women and men committed to running 26.2 in Boston.


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