What is Maryland Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?

So, what does Maryland Day have to do with a wine and spirits store? Well for starters, we are proud Marylanders. We have the best state flag. And, frankly, we love to celebrate (preferably with a brew in hand).

At its core, Maryland Day is the celebration of the founding of the Maryland colony way back in 1633. (Or 1634 – accounts vary as to the exact year.) However, since the holiday’s first observance in 1903, Maryland Day has grown into something more: a celebration of the state’s history, culture, heritage, and diversity (not to mention a great excuse to drink with friends).

Let’s explore the significance of this day and how you can take part this year – even if that means just throwing back a celebratory pint from the comfort of your living room.

A Brief History To Make You Seem Knowledgable

We celebrate Maryland Day annually on March 25. It commemorates when two small ships carrying English settlers – the Dove and the Arklanded at St. Clement’s Island, or modern-day St. Mary’s County. These settlers were kind of a big deal. They founded the first settlement in the Maryland colony – St. Mary’s City.

But that’s jumping ahead a bit. Let’s rewind. Before the group of settlers could ever set sail, they had to get permission from King Charles I of England, who indeed granted a charter to the Baron of Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert. Calvert’s brother, Leonard Calvert, led the group of about 140 settlers to their new home via sea voyage, which lasted around four months.

Sailing by ship to a new, unexplored world was no joke. Imagine, for a moment, what that might have been like: No bathrooms, no modern conveniences, cramped quarters, and nothing but the ocean as far as your eyes could see for months on end. Nothing between you and those unrelenting waves but a creaky wooden ship, and nothing before you but a wild, unknown country.

“Nothing is more Maryland than Old Bay, crabcakes, and Natty Boh.” – Random Quote We Made Up

The settlers endured storms at sea that tossed around their two ships like beach balls. The turmoil caused the twin vessels to completely lose sight of each other. In fact, the Dove was given up as lost until the travelers reached Barbados. The Ark paused there for three weeks to rest and replenish supplies – that’s when the Dove reappeared out of thin air, having weathered the storm after all.

When the two ships finally arrived at St. Clement’s Island in March, accounts generally agree they raised a cross, offered prayers to God, and celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation, which commemorates when the angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary with tidings of Jesus Christ.

In other words, the settlers partied it up like pilgrims, and with good reason. If you had just spent four months on a smelly ship, Maryland would probably look like heaven to you, too.

Why Celebrate Maryland Day?

Loving Maryland is reason enough to celebrate Maryland Day – at least, that’s our take. After all, would Maryland exist as we know it without those first intrepid settlers? Probably not. Either way, in Maryland, we love any reason to celebrate our state. So, whether you decide to toast to Maryland at home with a six-pack of local craft beer, whether you take part in one of the many in-person and virtual events happening at the Annapolis Maritime Museum, the Anne Arundel Public Library, or one of the many heritage sites around Anne Arundel County…

Remember Maryland Day on March 25 this year. We sure will. Need some celebratory brews for the holiday? Check out our beer selection.