This holiday is celebrated in Suffolk Country, Massachusetts, on March 17th to commemorate the day that the British left the area in the Revolutionary War. Many schools and offices close.
The holiday is celebrated with visits to and memorials at historical sights, parades, educational events, and reenactments. The holiday falls on the same day as St. Patrick’s Day, which is not an accident, as many residents in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, are Irish, and so many activities for these two holidays are merged. Irish-Americans played a significant role in Evacuation Day, and so Evacuation Day is largely associated with Irish culture.
Although it is most often referred to as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Boston’s parade is sometimes considered the Saint Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day Parade. It is also celebrated with a politician luncheon.
Evacuation Day was the first significant military victory for the Americans during the revolution, marking the end of the siege of Boston. It started when George Washington reinforced the community of Dorchester Heights with newly acquired canons. When this came to the attention of the British General Howe, the military leader felt threatened and decided to leave. This early win gave a confident boost to the colonies.
The holiday was made official in 1901 amidst a renewed interest in Suffolk County’s history.