The philosopher George Santayana once quipped, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” But revisiting history is about more than avoiding mistakes — the act also helps us commemorate achievements and celebrate progress. That’s why we’re excited to celebrate 23 history holidays each year!
Where did historical holidays come from?
Historical holidays bring the past into the present, each for a different reason.
Some were created to honor collective sacrifice, like Veterans Day, celebrated every November 11th on the anniversary of WWI. Other days recognize great individual leaders — like Winston Churchill — who beyond making history, shifted its very course. And a few reinforce collective values and our common past, including Constitution Day on September 17th.
It's also worth noting, just as not everyone agrees on how history unfolded, not everyone agrees which holidays should be celebrated. Columbus Day — traditionally celebrated on October 8th — has been rivaled in recent years by Indigenous People's day, which encourages people to reflect on the hardship Christopher Columbus brought on the Americas' native population.
So whether a historical holiday exists to commemorate, warn, celebrate, or contend, each carries an important reminder of the past — which we can hopefully bring to bear on our lives today.
Submit your favorite historical holidays
Are we missing a historical holiday you believe it is important? Please let us know at our holiday submissions page, and make sure to include a bit of information about the day — including track record of media coverage, and a brief overview of its presence on social media. We look forward to hearing from you!