Monday, April 16, 2012

Yes, this is a Carolina Day post, two months early...

As some of our New England friends might know, today is Patriots' Day. Not to be confused with Patriot Day, which is September 11th, or Patriotes Day, the national holiday of Quebec, Patriots' Day occurs every third day in April and commemorates the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. In Massachusetts, Maine, and (for some reason) Wisconsin, it's an official holiday.

I mention this because it's a good segue into mentioning South Carolina's own Revolutionary War holiday, Carolina Day. Celebrated on the 28th of June, Carolina Day marks the 1776 defeat of a British invasion force at the Battle of Sullivans Island. Today it's the day when all of Charleston's venerable cultural institutions meet at Washington Park and march down Meeting Street to the Battery for a wreath laying and some speechifying at the base of Sergeant Jasper's statue.

Carolina Day is also when all the venerable members of said institutions don their seersucker and turn Meeting Street into a river of blue-and-white pinstripes. This is, of course, done solely for participants own comfort, though it does seem to turn into a spectacle for the tourists. The important thing is this: make sure you're ready to march with the Library Society (the oldest and most venerable cultural institution in the South) by picking up your official Ben Silver Library Society tie.

Lest you think this is a bit early for your loyal blogger to be discussing June events, I promise that one of our patrons was in last Friday encouraging the writing of this post. In a good year, we might have about a dozen folks march with the Library in the parade. Said encouraging patron is not settling for anything less than fifty this year. Good for him: I know I'll be there.

And that golden hope brings me back to Patriots Day... our friends in Massachusetts have figured out a great way to boost the popularity of their Revolutionary parade: not only do the schools and government offices close; not only do the Sox play an early home game; but it's also the day the Boston Marathon is always held. And don't feel bad that their patriotic fete gets 25,000 attendants, while our Carolina Day struggles for a few hundred... unlike our Northern friends, we aren't all trying to finish the parade as quickly as possible!

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