Posted: Dec. 5, 2013


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

December the 7th on Saturday is Delaware Day, celebrating the date that made the state the first to ratify the daring new Constitution in 1787. It is also Pearl Harbor Day.

This annual juxtaposition obviously makes double observances a regular occurrence here, so Delawareans could be excused if they were more inclined than people elsewhere to take it in stride when Thanksgiving and Chanukah coincided last week.

So what if it was a cosmic convergence? It happens. (The same overlap comes again in 2070.)

As a matter of fact, alignments occur here all the time because of Delaware's own calendar of holidays and special events.

Inauguration Day

The governor is inaugurated every four years on the third Tuesday in January. The president takes office on January 20. Every 28 years the ceremonies coincide, or they have since the presidential oath-taking was shifted from March to January in 1933 by the 20th Amendment.

As history would have it, the parties of the governor and the president have also coincided every time, so the governor was sworn in at midnight to accommodate the Delawareans who wanted to attend both inaugurations.

The Republicans scrambled in 1953 for Caleb Boggs and Dwight Eisenhower and in 1981 for Pete du Pont and Ronald Reagan, while the Democrats did in 2009 for Jack Markell and Barack Obama. Oh, and for the vice president taking his oath. The one known around here as "Our Joe."

Point-to-Point and May Day

There are some events that happen only in Delaware. Like Return Day, the post-election festivities in Sussex County. Like Point-to-Point, the steeplechase races and blueblood version of a mass cookout at Winterthur in Chateau Country.

Point-to-Point is held on the first Sunday in May, so it periodically falls on May Day, the first of the month, as it last did in 2011. A maypole would hardly be out of place amid the spring finery.

There are also years Point-to-Point comes on Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of the month, and people should know what to do. The tailgaters do not always drink beer, but if they do, make it Dos Equis.

Primary Day and September 11 (Patriot Day)

There might not be a better way to reflect on the Republic and what it stands for than voting on the same date as the terrorist attack in 2001. The most recent was 2012. New Yorkers actually were going to the polls on the day the twin towers fell.

Election Day and Day of the Dead

Sometimes early November brings the election and a Mexican holiday remembering the dearly departed. Election Day on the Day of the Dead? Nobody could make this up.

Delaware Day and Pearl Harbor Day

Not only does December the 7th mark Delaware Day and Pearl Harbor Day, it is also the birthday of John Daniello, the Democratic state chair. Wish him a happy one this Saturday.