Citizens of West Virginia celebrate their statehood on June 20th annually. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, observance moves to the next day. Many festivities occur at the State Capitol in Charleston and historic sites. These may include exhibits, colonial costume parties, educational programs, historical tours, and reenactments. Another popular tradition is to hold lunches and barbeques, often held by West Virginia patriotic-themed associations, outdoors along with swimming and athletic games. Some West Virginians reserve the day to celebrate the state’s beautiful landscape with hikes and camping trips. Many schools and offices close.
Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, the land of West Virginia served as a Native American hunting ground. Europeans arrived in the late seventeenth century and settled about 1725. At first, West Virginia was part of Virginia, which started with the British Virginia Colony. The east and west are separated by the Blue Mountains, causing problems with government of both areas as the regions were difficult to travel to and from.
West Virginia became a separate state after disagreement with Virginians over secession. The 50 counties that separated from Virginia in order to join the Union made up the new state of West Virginia. Lincoln issued a proclamation on April 30, 1863 admitting the state of West Virginia. Soon after, an informal commemoration of a state pride day was held until the holiday was made official in 1927.