Maryland Day Fun Facts


Observed annually on March 25, Maryland Day is a state holiday that commemorates the formal founding of the colony of Maryland. It is widely held that on that day in 1634, British colonists stepped ashore on what they called St. Clements Island in St. Mary’s County and held a mass to celebrate their safe passage and observe the Feast of Annunciation. A weekend of events to mark the occasion is planned each year in the greater Annapolis area. Below are seven interesting facts about the upcoming holiday.

1. The Voyage of the Ark and the Dove

On November 22, 1633, roughly 140 British settlers departed the English Isle of Wight in two small ships, the Ark and the Dove. A severe storm separated the ships, but the Ark continued its journey across the Atlantic and made a stop at Barbados in January. There, the Dove reappeared. Both ships reached Virginia on February 27, 1634, where they gathered supplies before sailing north in the Chesapeake Bay.

2. Landfall on St. Clements Island

On March 25, the English settlers disembarked the Ark and the Dove and set foot on an island they named St. Clements, which is located in present-day St. Mary’s County. There, three priests among them are said to have held a mass during which the settlers offered prayers and erected a large cross. The landing coincided with a holy day known as the Feast of Annunciation.

3. Feast of the Annunciation

Observed on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation is a holy day in honor of the Virgin Mary. According to the Gospel of Luke, the annunciation is the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus, the Christian Messiah, through a virgin birth. Some denominations, including the Catholic Church, move their observation of the feast when March 25 falls during Holy Week, which it does this year.

4. History of March 25

When the Anno Domini calendar system was introduced in AD 527, the beginning of the year was assigned to March 25 to align with the Feast of Annunciation. New Year’s Day was moved to January 1 in France in 1564, but it wasn’t until 1752 that England officially observed the same date.

5. Genesis of Maryland Day

Marylanders began formally observing the official state holiday in 1903, when the Maryland State Board of Education chose March 25 to elevate Maryland history in schools. The Maryland General Assembly followed suit in 1916 by establishing it as a legal holiday.

6. Weekend Celebration in Annapolis

Sponsored by the county, city and other organizations, Annapolis’ Maryland Day weekend celebration is in its 17th year and will feature admission to over 20 local destinations for free or just $1 from March 22-24, 2024. Activities are planned at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, the Chesapeake Arts Center, Historic Hancock’s Resolution Farm Park, Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, several county libraries and many more locations. For a complete list of events, go to

7. Festivities Around Maryland

Maryland’s birthplace, St. Mary’s County, will observe Maryland Day on March 23 in Historic St. Mary’s City with free admission to historical sites from 10:00am-4:00pm and a ceremony at 1:00pm under the Margaret Brent Pavilion. In Baltimore, the Maryland Center For History and Culture is offering free admission on March 24 from 10:00am-5:00pm.


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