Confederate Memorial Day honors those who died fighting for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War from 1861 through 1865. Here are five interesting facts about the observance.
Eight U.S. states officially recognize Confederate Memorial Day
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia all have annual state holidays to commemorate the fallen Confederate soldiers.
There is no standard date or name for the holiday
What the holiday is called and when it’s observed differs among the states. Texas already held its celebrations this year, and Alabama and Mississippi will mark the holiday Monday. Below is a list detailing when each state observes Confederate Memorial Day and the official name of the holiday:
- Alabama: fourth Monday in April (April 25 in 2016) — Confederate Memorial Day
- Mississippi: last Monday of April (April 25 in 2016) — Confederate Memorial Day
- North Carolina: May 10 — Confederate Memorial Day
- South Carolina: May 10 — Confederate Memorial Day
- Virginia: last Monday in May (May 30 in 2016) — Confederate Memorial Day
- Louisiana: June 3 — Confederate Decoration Day
- Tennessee: June 3 — Confederate Decoration Day
- Texas: Jan. 19 — Confederate Heroes Day
Georgia removed Confederate Memorial Day from its state calendar last year
In its 2016 official state holiday calendar, Georgia replaced Confederate Memorial Day, as well as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s birthday, with the generic name “state holiday.” The move came amid intensifying scrutiny over Confederate symbols, after the slaughter of nine black worshippers at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white racist in June last year. The name change, however, doesn’t mean that Georgia residents can’t observe Confederate Memorial Day, which traditionally took place on April 26.
Some folks get the day off work
In the areas that observe Confederate Memorial Day, state offices are generally closed. But federal offices may be open since it’s not a federal holiday. Shops and other businesses may be open or closed according to local custom.
Memorial Day might have been adapted from early Confederate Memorial Day events
Even before the Civil War ended, women’s groups across the South were commemorating the Confederate dead. The Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia, decided in April 1886 to honor each year the Confederate soldiers who died during the war — a decision that seemed to have inspired Memorial Day creator John Logan.