Memorial Day is an official national holiday in the United States and is observed on the final Monday of every May. Originally, from 1868, Memorial Day was on 30 May, but the date was moved to the last Monday of the month in 1971. It being on a Monday ensures there is always a three-day Memorial Day weekend.
|2022||30 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2023||29 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2024||27 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|Please scroll down to end of page for previous years' dates.|
The original name of Memorial Day was Decoration Day, and it was established after the American Civil War to honor those who fought to save the Union and free the slaves. It was not very popular for a long time in the Southern States, for obvious reasons, and wasn’t observed there much. Some states in the South even had – and in some cases still have – their own “Confederate Memorial Day.”
After the common fight of the whole country, both North and South, in The Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II, Memorial Day began to gain ground even in the South. It was an important holiday since 1868 but only became truly nationalized in 1971. It was also around this time that the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.
Traditionally, people observe Memorial Day by visiting war memorials and cemeteries where those who served are now buried. There are many official ceremonies for Memorial Day involving the raising of the US flag, the laying down of wreaths, and the delivery of 21-gun or other salutes. There are many military and civilian parades throughout the US on Memorial Day. The parades in big cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington are especially important.
Many people have the whole long weekend off work and school. They gather together with family and friends for food, fun, and good company. It is common to have a cookout, a picnic, or to eat and swim at the beach if you live near the ocean.
As mentioned above, many people observe the day by visiting cemeteries. They typically decorate the graves of loved ones, which is why the day was originally called Decoration Day. Many also wear a red poppy to remember those who gave their lives in wars in the service of their country. The red poppy tradition began after World War I and is partly based on the famed poem, often read this time of year, that begins “In Flanders’ Fields the poppies grow.”
|2021||31 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2020||25 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2019||27 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2018||28 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|
|2017||29 May||Mon||Memorial Day||National|