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Rhode Island Independence Day in the United States

Rhode Island Independence Day is a state holiday in the state of Rhode Island in the United States on May 4 each year. It commemorates the state's independence from Great Britain on May 4, 1776.

Is Rhode Island Independence Day a Public Holiday?

Rhode Island Independence Day is not a public holiday. It falls on Saturday, May 4, 2019 and most businesses follow regular Saturday opening hours in the United States.

Rhode Island Independence Day

Rhode Island Independence Day is a state holiday in Rhode Island.

©iStockphoto.com/ bkindler

What Do People Do?

A wide range of local events are arranged to mark Rhode Island Independence Day. Many of these have a military flavor and include: a formal review of the forces by the state Governor; displays of current and historic military equipment, routines and drills; and a battery salute in honor of Rhode Island’s independence. Family picnics and essay contests for high school students are also organized. These events may take part on a Saturday close to May 4 to enable families to attend.

Public Life

May 4 is a state holiday in Rhode Island, USA. State and municipal offices may be closed. However, stores and private business are usually open and public transit services run to their usual schedules. In other areas of the United States, May 4 is not a public holiday and there are no changes to public life.

Background

Providence Plantation was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, who was a Baptist preacher and had fled from religious persecution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1644, the colony was recognized as an English colony and granted a charter by the English Parliament. The area later became known as the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Rhode Island was one of the 13 colonies in North America that rebelled against the British rule in 1775 and the first to officially declare independence from the British Crown. The other twelve states were: New Hampshire; Massachusetts; Connecticut; New York; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; Delaware; Maryland; Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina; and Georgia. On May 4, 1776, the general assembly in Rhode Island passed an act, which declared Rhode Island and Providence Plantations an independent state. The anniversary of this date has become known as Rhode Island Independence Day. If May 4 falls on a Saturday, Rhode Island Independence Day is observed on Friday, May 3. If May 4 falls on a Sunday, it is observed on Monday, May 5.

Symbols

Rhode Island is on the eastern coast of the United States and is officially known as the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations". The flag of Rhode Island is a white rectangle in the proportions 29:33 . A gold anchor representing hope and the maritime history of the state is at the center of the flag. A blue ribbon with the word "HOPE" in gold letters is depicted below the anchor. The anchor and ribbon are surrounded by 13 gold stars representing the 13 colonies in North America that rebelled against British rule in 1775. Other symbols of Rhode Island include: the Rhode Island Red breed of chicken (state bird); the Red maple with its distinctive red fall leaves (state tree); the violet (state flower); and a mixture of milk and coffee-flavored syrup known as 'coffee milk' (state drink).

Rhode Island Independence Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2011WedMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2012FriMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2013SatMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2014SunMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2015MonMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2016WedMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2017ThuMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2018FriMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2019SatMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island
2020MonMay 4Rhode Island Independence DayLocal observanceRhode Island

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