Oklahoma Day

Oklahoma Day is a holiday that falls on the 22nd of April annually in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It commemorates the date when the Oklahoma territory was opened up for European settlement in 1889. Because this is a state holiday in Oklahoma, some financial institutions may be closed on this day, but most other businesses are usually open.

The History of Oklahoma Day

In 1803, the United States acquired 828,000 square miles from France—an act that’s now called the Louisiana Purchase. The area that was purchased encompassed all or part of 15 current U.S. states. After the purchase, the Louisiana and Orleans Territories were organized. The Orleans Territory would become the state of Louisiana in 1812, and the Louisiana Territory was renamed the Missouri Territory.

The Oklahoma Territory began with the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834. Under this act, the U.S. Congress set aside the land for Native Americans. Over the next few decades, the size of this area would shrink until it was the size of the modern-day borders of Oklahoma in 1856. These lands were then referred to as Indian Territory because they had been granted to some Indian nations under the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

After the U.S. Civil War in 1866, the federal government required tribes that supported the Confederacy to sign new treaties that forced them into land concessions. U.S. officials forced the giving up of 2 million acres of land in the middle of the Indian Nation Territory. To prevent this unassigned land from being colonized by European-Americans, the U.S. president then issued a proclamation in April of 1879 preventing unlawful entry into Indian Territory.

On March 2, 1889, the U.S. Congress passed an amendment to the Indian Act of 1871. This amendment changed the unassigned land into Oklahoma Territory. This allowed the creation of homestead settlements beginning on April 22, 1889. When that day arrived, over 50,000 people entered the territory. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as a U.S. state.

Interesting Facts About Oklahoma

Ready to learn more about Oklahoma? If you are, then read the following facts we’ve uncovered about this U.S. state as we researched Oklahoma Day.

  • Almost 34 million acres in Oklahoma are farmland.
  • Oklahoma has over 200 man-made lakes.
  • During the Triassic Period, this state was near the equator.
  • Oklahoma produces more gypsum than any other state in the U.S.
  • In 1916, over 45,000 Oklahomans voted on a Socialist ticket.
  • Geronimo died of pneumonia in 1909. He is buried at Fort Sill.
  • Movies set in Oklahoma include The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Outsiders (1983), Twister (1996), UHF (1989), and Killers of the Flower Moon (2021).
  • The state insect of Oklahoma is the honey bee.
  • Oklahoma has an average of 85 rainy days per year.
  • Oklahoma is the fifth-largest U.S. state in pecan production.

Observing Oklahoma Day

On this day, a variety of different events are held all over the state. There may be special lessons leading up to this holiday at some schools, special exhibitions at museums, and maybe even a concert or two across Oklahoma. People also use the hashtag #OklahomaDay on social media. Anyone interested in observing this holiday can take the time to learn more about its history, watch a movie that’s set in Oklahoma, or simply get together with friends and family for the day.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Local observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
April 22 Monday
Next year (2025)
April 22 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
April 22 Saturday