When is Memorial Day 2015? Get dates and Memorial Day history from The Old Farmer's Almanac.
- Remember: Raise the flag in honor! Here are American Flag Guidelines .
Memorial Day Dates
This Federal holiday is celebrated the last Monday of each May to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military.
|2014||Monday, May 26|
|2015||Monday, May 25|
Memorial Day History
The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was first known, are unclear.
In early rural America, this duty was usually performed in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics. After the Civil War, America's need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers' graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.
After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all America wars.
No less than 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and states observed the holiday on different dates. In 1971, Memorial Day became a national holiday by an act of Congress; it is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.
Since it all started with the Civil War, you might want to brush up on your knowledge of this event by visiting the Library of Congress Civil War collection , which includes more than a thousand photographs.
Know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Click for our page on Veteran's Day .