Saturday, 2:15 PM
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
Members of the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston fired a salute today as part of an Evacuation Day ceremony atop Dorchester Heights.
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Evacuation Day is here again, the only-in-Suffolk-County holiday that commemorates when the Continental Army hauled 50 cannons up Dorchester Heights on March 17, 1776, and forced the redcoats out of Boston.
The holiday, which suspiciously coincides with a day named for a certain Irish saint, has given city and state employees the day off for more than 100 years. That means an estimated 35,000 workers get to stay home for St. Patrick's Day -- er -- Evacuation Day, according to a tally the Globe complied last year with the help of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau and the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.
Evacuation Day is not to be confused with Bunker Hill Day on June 17, the other only-in-Suffolk-County holiday that commemorates the 1775 battle with the British on a hill just north of downtown. Or Patriots Day, the statewide holiday observed the third Monday in April. For those who are counting, that is 13 paid holidays a year for civic employees who work in Suffolk County, three more than the 10 mandated by the federal government.
Two years ago, the Globe compiled a list of obscure holidays celebrated in other states.
Vermont takes a holiday each Aug. 16 for Bennington Battle Day to honor its most famous conflict of the Revolutionary War. On the second Monday in August, Rhode Island celebrates Victory Day to remember Japanís surrender in World War II.
Each July 24, Utah takes a vacation for Pioneer Day, to commemorate when Brigham Young and other Mormon trailblazers first entered Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and other Southern states donít let a June 3 pass without celebrating the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederacy.
Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes' Day (Jan. 19), Cesar Chavez Day (March 31), Lyndon Baines Johnson Day (Aug. 27), and three other only-in-the-Lone-Star-state festivals. But, unlike in Suffolk County, state employees in Texas don't get a day off for what are designated as optional holidays. Texas does, however, close state, city, and local offices the Friday after Thanksgiving.