An Odd Holiday: Today is Repeal Day

In 1919, Congress passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture or sale of alcoholic beverage. It ushered in a dark era in American history, commonly known as Prohibition. One example: It birthed organized crime, as ruthless gangsters like Al Capone made a killing off bootlegging. (If you doubt this, check out an episode of the brutal HBO series Boardwalk Empire.) The only ways to get a decent drink were at routinely raided illegal speakeasies, or making it yourself at home. If the words “bathtub mint julep” send a chill down your spine then, have we got a holiday for you: Repeal Day, December 5th.

After 13 long n’ dry years, American lawmakers came to the conclusion that Prohibition was unworkable and nixed it with the passage of the 21st Amendment on December 5th, 1933. Despite the valiant efforts of prominent repeal advocates, such as John D. Rockefeller Jr., that glorious day never became a sanctioned holiday. In the decades that followed, Americans celebrated their right to get blitzed on St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo instead.

But interest in celebrating Repeal Day has revived recently. In 2006, Eugene, Oregon, bartender and writer Jeffrey A. Morgenthaler wrote a blog post promoting the concept and it caught on like Canadian whiskey in a speakeasy…at least it did in speakeasies, er, bars. Now drinking establishments from sea-to-shining sea host Repeal Day celebrations every Dec 5th.

So go out there and support your local tavern and raise a glass to toast your constitutional rights. Three cheers for Repeal Day!

Witten by: Brandon Hartley