Return Day in Delaware in 2020

Return Day in Delaware in 2020
Flag of Delaware, USA Image by Office Holidays

  Dates of Return Day in Delaware
2022 Thu, Nov 10Government Holiday
2020 Thu, Nov 5Government Holiday
2018 Thu, Nov 8Government Holiday
2016 Thu, Nov 10Government Holiday
  Summary
This unique-to-Delaware celebration involves voters gathering in the charming and historic county seat of Georgetown to hear the Town Crier announce election results.

When is Return Day?

Return Day is a state holiday in Delaware, observed on the Thursday after Election Day in November every even year.

This unique-to-Delaware celebration involves voters gathering in the charming and historic county seat of Georgetown to hear the Town Crier announce election results. 

History of Return Day

Many of the holidays we celebrate today are based on customs that grew up out of necessity, such as harvest festivals. And it's not just holidays, Election Day in the US takes place on a Tuesday to give people time to travel by cart from their hometowns. Return Day is the natural combination of both these customs.

At the end of the 18th century, anyone who wanted to vote in elections in Sussex County, Delaware, had to make their way to Georgetown. For many residents, this meant making an arduous journey in late fall on roads that were no more than dirt tracks.

Having made the journey to vote, then many also made another trip to find out the results, which were announced in Georgetown two days after the voting, having made their way from the state capitol, Dover. 

As reward for their stoic participation in the democratic process, many residents made it into an event and the whole affair turned into a bit of a festival with band concerts, markets and cock-fighting, if the political results didn't prove to exciting enough.

As modern communications made the need to travel for the results less necessary, the citizens of Sussex County had gotten to quite like their Georgetown mini-break, and if you visit Georgetown on Return Day, this tradition of reading the results still takes place when voters gather at the Circle to hear the Town Crier announce election results. You'll also find the same festive atmosphere with parades, markets and picnics There’s also a Mayors’ Hatchet Toss pitting local mayors against each other, entertainment, vendors, local brews, and an ox roast at an open pit barbecue outside the County Courthouse. The day features the ceremonial Burying of the Hatchet to celebrate the official end of the campaign season!

Translate this page