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Evacuation Day in United States

Evacuation Day is a public holiday in Suffolk County (including Boston), Massachusetts, in the United States on March 17 each year. It celebrates the date when the British troops evacuated Boston during the American Revolutionary War. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County, where various activities are held each year to remember this event.

George Washington statue in the Boston Public Garden
General George Washington (statue pictured above), who became the United States' first president, is remembered on Evacuation Day.
General George Washington (statue pictured above), who became the United States' first president, is remembered on Evacuation Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Jason DiLorenzo

What do people do?

Evacuation Day coincides with St Patrick’s Day, also on March 17. This gives a reason to celebrate especially as many residents in Suffolk County are of Irish descent. Moreover, the Irish Catholics are remembered on this day for their efforts in helping General George Washington defeat the British soldiers on March 17, 1776. Activities on the day may include Evacuation Day re-enactments, essay contests, and visits to historically significant sites.

Public Life

Evacuation Day is a public holiday in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, so many public offices and educational institutions are closed. Certain holidays in Massachusetts are subject to laws which restrict the type of work that may be performed as well as the kind of business and commercial activities that may remain open.


Evacuation Day remembers the first major American military victory in the American Revolutionary War, which saw the British troops leave Boston on March 17, 1776.  General George Washington, who became the United States’ first president, fortified Dorchester Heights by using cannons captured earlier from Fort Ticonderoga. The armies lobbed shells at each other during the movement, with colonists escalating the action on March 4, distracting the British soldiers’ attention.

General William Howe, of the British Army, woke up on March 5 that year to find that there were heavy guns aimed at his solders and down at the British fleet. Rather than repeat the heavy casualties of the Battle of Bunker Hill, the British troops left in haste on March 17 and never returned. This was a major psychological victory for General Washington and the colonists.

The American Continental Army’s sacrifices and efforts played a big role in establishing what is known today as the United States of America. The Evacuation Day holiday was proclaimed in 1901 after a failed attempt in 1876.


Dorchester Heights, an area in South Boston, is remembered as the place where the rebel troops placed heavy artillery to Boston and perched them atop from where they aimed for the British warships. This area is a point of strategic importance because of its elevation and commanding view of all of Boston and Boston Harbor. The Dorchester Heights monument, which is built of white marble, commemorates the events associated with Evacuation Day.

Evacuation Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
WedMar 172010Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
ThuMar 172011Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
FriMar 162012Evacuation Day observedState holidayMassachusetts
SatMar 172012Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
SunMar 172013Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
MonMar 182013Evacuation Day observedState holidayMassachusetts
MonMar 172014Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
TueMar 172015Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
ThuMar 172016Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
FriMar 172017Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
FriMar 162018Evacuation Day observedState holidayMassachusetts
SatMar 172018Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
SunMar 172019Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
MonMar 182019Evacuation Day observedState holidayMassachusetts
TueMar 172020Evacuation DayState holidayMassachusetts
* Holiday is partly observed in Massachusetts

Quick Facts

Evacuation Day in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, commemorates the first major American military victory in the Revolutionary War, which saw the British troops evacuate Boston.

Evacuation Day 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (local in Massachusetts)

Evacuation Day 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016 (local in Massachusetts)


Name in other languages

Evacuation DayEnglish
Día de EvacuaciónSpanish
יום הפינויHebrew
عيد الجلاءArabic
피난의 날Korean
Evacuation DayGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in March 2016 in United States

Fun Holiday on March 17, 2016

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