A Brief History...
The United States Marine Corps celebrates its birthday each year on November 10th.
Prior to 1921, the Marine Corps celebrated its birthday on July 11th. After the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy and the Continental Marines were disbanded. On July 11th, 1798 President John Adams approved a bill re-establishing the Corps. Therefore, between 1798 and 1921 this date was celebrated as the birth of the Corps
Formal commemoration of the Marine Corp’s birthday began on 10 November, 1921 after Major Edwin McClellan, Officer-in-Charge, Historical Section, Headquarters Marine Corps, sent a memorandum to Major General Commandant John A. Lejeune, suggesting that the original birthday on 10 November 1775 be declared a Marine Corps holiday to be celebrated throughout the Corps.  It was on this date that the Second Continental Congress decreed:
“That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines.”
On 1 November, 1921, MajGen Legeune issued Marine Corps Order No 47, Series 1921. The order summarized the history, mission, and tradition of the Corps, and directed that it be read to every command on 10 November each subsequent year in honor of the birthday of the Marine Corps. 
The first formal ball was likely held in 1925 in Philadelphia, although no records exist of formal celebrations prior to this date. Since this date, birthday celebrations have taken many forms, most included dances, while others included mock battles, musical performances, pageants and sporting events.
On 28 October 1952, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., directed that the celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday be formalized throughout the Corps, and provided an outline for the cake ceremony, as well as other formal observances. This outline was included in the Marine Corps Drill Manual, approved 26 January 1956. 
Presently, celebrations of the Marine Corps Birthday on 10 November differ at posts and stations throughout the Corps. All commemorations include the reading of Marine Corps Order No. 47, and the Commandant's message to those assembled. Most commands sponsor a Birthday Ball of some sort, complete with pageant and cake ceremony as prescribed in the Marine Corps Manual.
Like the Corps itself, the Birthday Ball developed from simple origins to become the polished, professional function that all Marines commemorate on 10 November around the world. 
1. "Marine Corps Birthday Celebration". Customs and Traditions. Reference Branch, History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
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