A TLC Travel bus displaying "Happy Yorkshire Day!" on the destination blind on Yorkshire Day in 2018.
|Observed by||Residents of the county of Yorkshire|
|Significance||Anniversary of the Battle of Minden and the emancipation of slaves|
|Celebrations||Celebration and promotion of Yorkshire culture|
|Next time||1 August 2019|
|Related to||Lincolnshire Day; Minden Day; Oxfordshire Day; St Piran's Day; Sussex Day|
Yorkshire Day is celebrated on 1 August to promote the historic English county of Yorkshire. It was celebrated in 1975, by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as "a protest movement against the local government re-organisation of 1974". The date alludes to the Battle of Minden, and also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, had campaigned.
The day was already celebrated by the Light Infantry, successors to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, as Minden Day. Together with five other infantry regiments of the British Army, a rose is permitted to be worn in the headdress. In the case of the Light Infantry, the rose is white.
On Yorkshire Day, members of the society read a "Declaration of Integrity":
"I, [Name], being a resident of the [West/North/East] Riding of Yorkshire [or City of York] declare:
That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of [Current Year minus 875][note 1] years' standing; That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.
These declarations made this Yorkshire Day [Year]. God Save the Queen!"
In York the Declaration is made four times by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, once for each Riding and once for the City of York. The traditional boundaries of the Three Ridings run up to the ancient city walls, so by processing out of three of the bars (gatehouses) the Society can make the Declaration in each Riding, followed by reading the Declaration within a fourth bar inside the City.
The day has attracted some criticism:
Despite the serious underlying purpose and money-raising activities for charity, some Yorkshire people worry that it has become a media and marketing jamboree, perpetuating stereotypes of whippets, black puddings and flat caps. "We have to be careful not to overdo it, but regional distinctiveness adds colour. I'm against a grey uniformity spreading over everything, which is the way the world is going," says Arnold Kellett from the Yorkshire Dialect Society.
In its early years, the day was not widely acknowledged. A 1991 Times orial read:
Today is Yorkshire Day. Not many people know that, as a very non-Yorkshire person likes to say, and probably not many Yorkshiremen either know or care. It is almost as artificial as Father's Day, which, as all thrifty northerners know, was created to sell more greetings cards— The Times