Presidents’ Day is a United States federal holiday and it is always celebrated the third Monday in February in honor of George Washington’s birthday and all the presidents that followed after him.
This federal holiday came into being as an Act of Congress in 1879 to celebrate the first President of the United States, George Washington’s birthday. The holiday was the first federal holiday honoring American citizens and was originally celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday on February 22. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday act shifted the observance of Presidents’ Day to the third Monday in February. Ironically, the holiday now always falls between February 15-21, making “George Washington’s Birthday” a misnomer since it never actually occurs on his birthday.
Though the day is still called “George Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government, most states have renamed it “Presidents’ Day” or “Washington and Lincoln Day” to also honor President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12. Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all former and present U.S. presidents.
Leading up to the holiday, schools use the day as a way to teach their students about presidential history and celebrate significant accomplishment made by United States presidents. Stores also often have “Presidents’ Day Sales” due to the high number of children and adults who have the day off from school or work.
Take this day to educate yourself about the history of American presidents and learn about where our country came from and where we may be headed in the future.