For Massachusetts residents, the annual Patriots Day celebration held each April is a cherished remembrance of local American history and heritage.
Patriots Day celebrates the farmers and merchants, townspeople and volunteer soldiers in Concord, Lexington and nearby towns who banded together against encroaching British troops on April 19, 1775. The episode began when British soldiers set out from Boston Common, moving stealthily in the dark of night toward Lexington, to capture Sam Adams and John Hancock and to seize guns and ammunition in Concord. In equally dramatic fashion, Bostonians Paul Revere and William Dawes rode off on horseback to warn their fellow countrymen that ‘the British are coming.’ The initial confrontation at North Bridge in Concord became known as ‘the shot heard round the world,’ which sparked the American Revolution.
In the ensuing 248 years, Americans have celebrated that auspicious battle, but it wasn’t until April, 19, 1894 that Governor Frederic Greenhalge officially declared Patriots Day in Massachusetts, calling it “a day rich with historical and significant events which are precious in the eyes of the patriots,” and an annual occasion to “adequately express our deep sense of the trials and tribulations of the patriots.” And since 1969, Patriots Day has been observed as a state holiday on the third Monday in April. This year, Patriots Day falls on Monday, April 17.
The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has a schedule of Patriots Day activities taking place over the weekend and throughout April.
The Minuteman National Historic Park and the towns of Lexington and Concord remain the centerpiece of the commemoration, while multiple cities and towns, including Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Medford and Acton will mark this important day in American history with parades, re-enactments and special events.
Over the next several years, Massachusetts’ proud history is taking center stage as we prepare to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026. A Special Commission on the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution has been formed to determine how best to commemorate the distinct role Massachusetts played in the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party, Battle of Bunker Hill and Battle of Lexington and Concord to the Siege of Boston and Evacuation Day.
The 250th Commission, led by co-chairs Senator Paul Mark and Representative Mindy Domb, is inviting any group that is potentially interested in planning or participating in events for the 250th to fill out this form.
A good source of information on Massachusetts’ role in the events leading up to the American Revolution is available at Revolution 250.
Go to visitma.com for ongoing information on upcoming events that celebrate Massachusetts history, culture, cuisine and outdoor recreation.