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.
- 1998: Huddersfield
- 1999: Kingston upon Hull
- 2001: Wakefield
- 2003: Halifax
- 2004: Leeds
- 2005: Bradford
- 2006: Penistone
- 2007: Kingston upon Hull
- 2008: Redcar
- 2009: Malton
- 2010: Hedon
- 2011: Wakefield
- 2012: Scarborough
- 2013: Skipton
- 2014: South Kirkby and Moorthorpe
- 2015: Doncaster
- 2016: Halifax
The Declaration of Integrity
A central tradition of Yorkshire Day is the reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity, which affirms Yorkshire's ancient foundation in 875 AD (as the Kingdom of Jorvik by the Viking chief Halfdan Ragnarsson) and asserts the inviolability of its ancient boundaries:
"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 editorial 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
- Thus in 2013 it was "1138 years standing", in 2014 it will be "1139 years standing" and so on.
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- Hull Daily Mail, 29 July 1999
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- "Yorkshire Day celebrations begin". BBC News. 31 July 2005. Retrieved 26 September 2006.
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- "Yorkshire Day celebrates traditional culture and heritage of our county] Wilberforce 2007". 1 August 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2007.
- "Yorkshire Day plans for Redcar and Cleveland". Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2007.
- "County gears up for Yorkshire Day". Darlington and Stockton Times. 31 July 2009. Archived from the original on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.
- "Yorkshire Day celebrated in Hedon on Sunday 1st August 2010". The Hedon Blog. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
- "Soldiers lead Yorkshire Day parade". Wakefield Express. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "A Festival of Yorkshire, Scarborough - Yorkshire Day and beyond". Scarborough Borough Council. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
- "Skipton will be flying the flag for Yorkshire Day". Craven Herald & Pioneer. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- "The history of Yorkshire Day celebrations". Hemsworth & South Elmsall Express. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Peace, Lee (27 July 2015). "A day of family fun promised as Doncaster hosts Yorkshire Day". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
- "Halifax chosen to host official Yorkshire Day 2016 celebrations". Halifax Courier. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- "Yorkshire Day: Brian Blessed's Ilkla Moor Baht 'At rap". BBC News. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "Celebrating Yorkshire's big day". The Press, York. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "On terminal one baht 'at, but wi' gradely fish and chips; Yorkshire Day". The Times. 1 August 1991.