St. Tammany's Day

St. Tammany's Day

May 1
During the Revolutionary War, the American troops were amused by the fact that the "Redcoats" (i.e., the British) had a patron saint: St. George, who had a reputation for protecting English soldiers. So they decided to adopt a patron saint of their own, and chose for the purpose a disreputable 17th-century Delaware Indian chief named Tammanend. They dubbed him "St. Tammany" or "St. Tamina," chose May 1 for his festival, and celebrated the day with pompous and ridiculous ceremonies.
After the revolution Tammany Societies were eventually formed in many cities and towns, representing middle-class opposition to the power of the aristocratic Federalist Party. In the early 19th century the Society of Tammany became identified with the Democratic party. But the society's tendency to dole out gifts to the poor and to bribe political leaders—among them the notorious "Boss" Tweed of New York City—made the name "Tammany Hall" (the building in which the organization had its headquarters in New York City) synonymous with urban political corruption.
SOURCES:
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 122
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 211
OxYear-1999, p. 193