Return Day Delaware in United States
Quick FactsReturn Day is held on the Thursday after Election Day in Georgetown, Delaware. It is a post-election tradition that celebrates the announcement of the election results with a unique festival and ceremony.
|Return Day Delaware||English|
|Día de Resultados de Elección||Spanish|
|ימי החזרת דלוור||Hebrew|
|العودة يوم ديلاوير||Arabic|
|주 델라웨어를 반환||Korean|
|Return Day Delaware||German|
Return Day Delaware 2014Thursday, November 6, 2014
Return Day Delaware 2015Return Day Delaware does not occur in 2015
List of dates for other years
Return Day is a traditional festival for the state of Delaware that is held on the Thursday after Election Day in November. It can fall on or around November 4 every other year to celebrate the announcement of the election results in Georgetown, Delaware.
What Do People Do?
Many people travel to Georgetown, Delaware for the celebration of Return Day. The festivities start with a concert and a traditional free ox roast in the town circle. The festival events include food vendors, competitions, musical entertainment, arts and crafts, and a parade of the winning and losing candidates from both parties.
The candidates ride in horse pulled carriages or antique cars around the town circle, followed by the ceremonial “bury the hatchet” – where the Sussex County chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties meet on stage, clutch the hatchet and together plunge it into a box of sand from Lewes – that signifies the end of the competition. The town crier reads the results of the statewide and Sussex County elections during the ceremony, and afterward all attendees receive a free roast beef sandwich.
Return Day is not a federal holiday but is considered a state holiday in Delaware. Schools and government offices shut down for the afternoon. Most downtown streets in Georgetown will be closed, but some roads will reopen on a phased-in basis after the Return Day parade has ended.
In 1791, the Delaware Legislature required all votes to be casted on Election Day at the new County Seat in Georgetown, Delaware. Thus, all Sussex County residents had to travel to Georgetown in order to vote on Election Day, and then return two days later to hear the results – hence the name Return Day. The winners of that year's political races would parade around the town circle in horse pulled carriages, and then the losers and the chairs of the county's political parties would perform the ceremonially "bury the hatchet" into a tub of sand.
In 1811, voting districts were created across the state, but the Board of Canvassers would still meet two days later in Georgetown to announce the final election results. Although television and the internet have eliminated the need for Return Day, the tradition is a time for Delaware residents to join together for a day of fun and a touch of nostalgia. Return Day is recognized as the only event of its kind in the nation.
The ceremonial “burial of the hatchet” symbolizes the official end of Delaware’s political season and a return to civility within Delaware politics. The sand is brought from Lewes, which is the site of the original county seat. The “hatchet” is a single-handed striking tool (axe) with a sharp blade and is also referred to as a tomahawk.
Return Day Delaware Observances
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday type||Where it is observed|
|Thu||Nov 8||1990||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 5||1992||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 10||1994||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 7||1996||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 5||1998||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 9||2000||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 7||2002||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 4||2004||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 9||2006||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 6||2008||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 4||2010||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 8||2012||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 6||2014||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 10||2016||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 8||2018||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
|Thu||Nov 5||2020||Return Day Delaware||State holiday||Delaware|
Other holidays in November 2014 in United States
- All Saints' Day ―Saturday, November 1, 2014
- All Souls' Day ―Sunday, November 2, 2014
- Daylight Saving Time ends ―Sunday, November 2, 2014
- Election Day ―Tuesday, November 4, 2014
- Election Day ―Wednesday, November 5, 2014
- International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict ―Thursday, November 6, 2014
- World Science Day for Peace and Development ―Monday, November 10, 2014
- Veterans Day ―Tuesday, November 11, 2014
- World Pneumonia Day ―Wednesday, November 12, 2014
- World Diabetes Day ―Friday, November 14, 2014
- International Day for Tolerance ―Sunday, November 16, 2014
- World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims ―Sunday, November 16, 2014
- World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day ―Wednesday, November 19, 2014
- World Toilet Day ―Wednesday, November 19, 2014
- International Men's Day ―Wednesday, November 19, 2014
- Universal Children's Day ―Thursday, November 20, 2014
- Africa Industrialization Day ―Thursday, November 20, 2014
- World Philosophy Day ―Thursday, November 20, 2014
- World Television Day ―Friday, November 21, 2014
- International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women ―Tuesday, November 25, 2014
- Thanksgiving Day ―Thursday, November 27, 2014
- Robert E Lee's Birthday ―Friday, November 28, 2014
- Presidents' Day ―Friday, November 28, 2014
- Lincoln's Birthday/Lincoln's Day ―Friday, November 28, 2014
- Black Friday ―Friday, November 28, 2014
- American Indian Heritage Day ―Friday, November 28, 2014
- International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People ―Saturday, November 29, 2014
- First Sunday of Advent ―Sunday, November 30, 2014
- Perpetual yearly calendar - make yearly calendar for any year
- Perpetual monthly calendar - shows only one month at a time
- Custom calendar - make customized calendars