Unlike national Independence Day, the Texas version does not have the advantage of a sweltering summer day or school vacations to provide plenty of free time and personal bandwidth to mark the occasion.
Rather, Texas Independence Day falls each year on a busy day on the calendar, March 2. Not only is it on a Monday this year, but many Texas public schools are kicking off a week of celebrating Dr. Seuss (today is his birthday).
Also competing for attention this year are preparations for Primary Election Day, which is “Super Tuesday” March 3. Candidates on this year’s primary ballots and campaign operatives and volunteers are busy scrambling to bring voters to the polls, which close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Yet Texans up and down the ballot, including those who aren’t eligible to be on the ballot again until 2022 or later such as Gov. Greg Abbott, are pausing to mark the day as a banner moment for Texas, as they celebrate their 184th anniversary of signing their Declaration of Independence from Mexico.
Today we celebrate Texas Independence Day.
On this date a Republic was born in the midst of seemingly insurmountable challenges.
True Texas grit helped our founders prevail and has inspired generations of Texans ever since.
May God forever bless the great state of Texas. pic.twitter.com/qGW0rtiWiu
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2020
Texas Independence Day kicks off a springtime season of celebration for Texans, continuing with the solemn anniversary of the fall of the Alamo on March 6 and the more celebratory San Jacinto Day, on which the anniversary of the decisive battle for Texas independence is recognized on April 21.
In the capital city today, Austinites will gather in the Texas Capitol rotunda for a celebration of all things Texana, and are scheduled to line up for a parade this coming Saturday. Celebrations are also taking place in Washington-on-Brazos, the original home of the Texas Capitol, Fort Worth, and other locations around the Lone Star State (formerly Republic).
But chances are if you’re from Texas, you’re working hard on a Monday. The Travis Tracker blog has a few suggestions on how you can commemorate March 2, whether you have some time on your hands or are busy keeping the Texas economic miracle alive.
Texas Independence Day is a holiday that is growing in popularity. It’s formally the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836 — the day 59 settlers in Mexican Texas officially declared independence from the Empire of Mexico and created the Republic of Texas.
Alas, it’s still a day that gets lost in the shuffle of springtime activities, much like its older, more official sister San Jacinto Day. If you have children in a Texas public elementary school, they’re more likely to be eating green ham and wearing footie pajamas and striped hats today. If you shout “Happy Texas Independence Day” to a neighbor, you might be told that “it’s as hot as the Fourth of July, alright.” Still others might laugh in support of your good cheer, thinking you’re referring to a clever beer advertising campaign. It’s enough to make ya wanna spit in the creek, I tell you what.
That’s why it is critically important for us to do something to mark the occasion — to tell the world that we Texans are daringly different, and ain’t afraid to celebrate it.
But what to do? Yes, you can do the kinds of things that Texans do every weekend — barbecue, eat Mexican food, go out two-stepping, shoot guns, etc. But we thought we would provide five unique ways you can help celebrate Texas freedom. If you have a tradition or event of your own, please feel to share it in the comments below.
1. Find a March 2nd event in your area. There are many cities that celebrate the day, especially Austin — everything from community festivals to 5k fun runs to parades, to Texian Soldier re-enactors doing their thing. See what’s up in Austin this week by visiting http://celebratetexas.net
2. Take a road trip to a historic site. We especially recommend Gonzales, where you can stand inches away from the famed “Come and Take It” cannon. Washington-on-the-Brazos (the original site of the Texas Capitol, pictured) also has a few sites to peruse. And there are a number of other historic places of early Texas lore such as Sam Houston’s birthplace near Huntsville or any place along the Texas Independence Trail.
3. Make some noise! Many counties are taking advantage of a recent law that allows for the sale of fireworks for March 2. Go ahead and light up the sky for a few minutes tonight (if your local authorities allow for it). It’ll make your not-so-Texan neighbors wonder what they’re missing.
You could also shoot guns, but do check with your local law enforcement and be sure not to annoy your neighbors — we are the Friendship State, after all.
4. Serve hot chocolate. While this new-ish tradition may seem weird, it is becoming a custom in some places to have a mug (or styrofoam cup) of cocoa on Texas Independence Day. It may have a lot to do with Texas’ Spanish roots, as the cocoa bean is a celebrated part of life. This can make for an easy way to celebrate the holiday at the office when your boss won’t give you the day off! The Texas weather can be hard to predict, so if you end up with an unseasonably warm March 2, try it ice cold, or with coffee.
5. Fly the colors! We remember to fly the U.S. flag for all kinds of reasons and federal holidays — some have loyally kept Old Glory raised over their homes since the onset of the War on Terror. But this is a change to raise the Lone Star high! If you’d like to start some discussion, fly one of the historic Texas standards, such as the San Jacinto Flag, the Bonnie Blue, the Burnet Flag, or the Zavala Flag (pictured) — just be prepared to tell the uninformed that you’re not advocating secession!
Regardless of how you celebrate, we wish you and yours a happy Texas Independence Day!