Monday, July 8, 2013

The great holiday migration

The Fourth of July is one of the few remaining holidays that is actually celebrated on its original day.

Most of the holidays have migrated to the closest Monday to make for a long weekend.  These include Washington's birthday (February 22), Memorial Day (May 30), Columbus Day (October 12) and Veteran's Day (November 11).  This is due to an act of Congress called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that took effect in 1971.  Who knew?  Even a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr that came after 1971 was placed on the third Monday in January rather than his birthday on January 15th.

The Fourth of July continues to float through the days, mattering not when it lands.  July 4th is the day that most businesses are closed, people barbecue, and fireworks sparkle.  However, many people choose to ALSO celebrate it on the Saturday landing closest to July 4th.

How do I know this?  I know this because every year I am invited to two such amazing celebrations on opposite sides of the country.  And I can't go to both.  So we alternate.

Last year's party was the West Coast party, a huge neighborhood block party on the street I grew up on.  Hundreds of people, many of whom I know, a bouncy castle, inflatable water slide, dunk tank, rotating bands, margaritas served at one house, ice cream sundaes at another, a cotton candy machine somewhere else. Not to mention a pet parade, a children's craft table, a chili cookoff, and an amazing amount of food!  It'll be good again next year.

This year's party was the East Coast party, a much smaller, but just as wonderful family get-together.  It takes place at a house built in 1812 that has been in my in-law's family since before the Civil War.  This party features canoeing on a tidal river (more on this tomorrow), a sno-cone machine, five dogs running all over the farm, burgers, hot dogs and ribs cooked on a new grill, trying to aim water balloons with a slingshot to hit the barn roof with a satisfying thud, mosquitoes, illegal fireworks, and a lot of hanging out and talking with friends and family.  It was a blast of a fourth of July, even if we celebrated on the sixth!

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