Difference Between Memorial Day and Celebration Day

To honor the death of every fallen soldier of every American War Memorial Day is celebrated every last Monday of the month of May. Also known as Decoration Day this name came into being when the purpose of the day was extended to mourn the martyrdom of every dead soldier for the American cause.

Decoration Day VS Memorial Day

The main difference between Decoration Day and Memorial Day is that Decoration Day was celebrated to honor the dead of Civil War whereas, Memorial Day is celebrated to honor the death of all war hero who died for the American cause. Decoration Day derives its name from the tradition in which people used to decorate the graves of the dead.

Decoration Day VS Memorial Day

It was the tradition of decorating the Graves of dead which was common in the region before and after the Civil War.

Women and groups of women used to decorate the graves to thank the martyrdom for their sacrifice and valor.

Memorial Day has a very controversial origin as more than 25 villages and states claim to have observed it. This federal holiday got its name during the late 19th century.

Be it Mexican-American War, the Civil War, or any war which claimed American lives finds it mention on this day.

Comparison Table Between Decoration Day and Memorial Day

Parameters of comparisonDecoration DayCelebration Day
Origin timeIt was first official used in 1868 by General John A. Logan.It came into being in the late 19th century.
War concernedIt was celebrated to remember only the dead of Civil War.It is celebrated to remember every Martyr for The American cause.
CustomIt was based on the old custom of decorating graves of the dead.It is unofficial starting date of summer in America.
Federal HolidayIt was not a federal holiday.It is a federal holiday.
OrganizationIt was not organized.It is organized.

What is Decoration Day?

As the name suggests it so called as women and groups of women used to decorate the Graves of the dead who lost their lives during the Civil War.It is centuries old tradition.

One of the prominent names is General John A. Logan among others. It was celebrated in different parts of the country.

It was celebrated with cycling competition and veterans and soldiers used to march along. Evidence can be found from the Prints and Photographs division.

It is very hard to pin the exact origin of this holiday as there are so many villages, towns and city which claim to be the birthplace. It however found its first mention during 1868 when commander of The Grand Army of the Republic declared it as a holiday.

Southern women used to decorate the graves long before the end of the Civil War and it find it precedents in so many states long before it got its proper name.

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is nothing but an extended form of Decoration Day. This federal holiday is celebrated to mourn entire Martyrdom who fell for The American Cause.

This is an annual holiday which is originated from Waterloo, New York. The place was given this pride by president Lyndon Johnson as it was the place which observed it formally for the first time.

In the year of 1971 a federal law made last Monday of May as the observation day for the holiday.

National observation takes place at the historic Arlington National Cemetery where The Tomb of the Unknow Soldier is decorated with a garland.

First it is raised quickly at the sunrise and then lowered immediately to half-staff until noon. It is then flown at full staff till sunset.

It was when the USA found itself amidst the World War 1 when people stated observing the day to mourn the death of all the fallen soldiers.

Main Difference Between Celebration Day and Memorial Day

  1. Memorial Day is celebrated on every last Monday of the month of may whereas Celebration Day was celebrated on 30th of May.
  2. Celebration day is a federal holiday whereas Celebration Day was not so for a long period of time.
Difference Between Memorial Day and Celebration Day


The origin of the holiday is controversial as many places lay claim to its origin. Many precedents can be found for these in various pat of the country.


  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/e2b07dc149c1e20bd3734814ff92c1d8/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1818448
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0957926512471762
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