Presidents Day, commonly known as Washington’s Birthday, is a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of February in the United States.
It is a day to commemorate the birthdays of two of America’s most renowned presidents: George Washington, the first President of the United States, and Abraham Lincoln, the 16th.
The holiday was created to commemorate George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732. It was declared a federal holiday in 1879 and became a national holiday in the United States with the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968.
Presidents Day is a day set aside to celebrate and reflect on the legacies of these two great Presidents, who helped shape the United States into what it is today.
It is also a day when Americans commemorate the country’s democratic traditions and the peaceful transition of power from one President to the next.
While Presidents Day is a federal holiday, it is observed in a variety of ways throughout the country, with parades, speeches, and other events held to mark the occasion.
Some states also utilize the day to honor other Presidents and historical luminaries.
Presidents Day Facts
1. Presidents Day was created to commemorate George Washington.
Presidents Day was created to commemorate George Washington, who was born on February 22, 1732. Washington was a vital figure in the establishment of the country and one of the most influential figures in American history.
During the American Revolution, he was a military officer who was essential in guiding the Continental Army to victory over the British.
Following the Revolution, Washington became the first President of the United States and is largely considered as the country’s father.
2. Honors both Washington and Lincoln’s legacies.
To mark Washington’s birthday in 1879, Congress established February 22 a federal holiday in celebration of his achievements to the country.
Originally known as “Washington’s Birthday,” the holiday was only observed in the District of Columbia. It was gradually adopted by other states and became a national holiday over time.
Despite the fact that the holiday was created to honor George Washington, it has subsequently been renamed Presidents Day to include Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12, 1809.
The occasion is currently used to honor both Washington and Lincoln’s legacies and to reflect on their contributions to the United States.
3. The third Monday in February was chosen as the date for Presidents Day.
On the third Monday of February, Presidents Day is observed. The event was declared a federal holiday in order to commemorate George Washington’s birthday, which falls on February 22.
However, in 1968, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was implemented, with the goal of giving employees more three-day weekends by shifting certain holidays to Mondays. As a result, Presidents Day has been rescheduled for the third Monday in February, which falls between February 15 and February 21.
This modification was designed to give workers a longer weekend and to encourage tourism by allowing more people to travel and take advantage of the vacation.
The third Monday in February was chosen as the date for Presidents Day because it is close to both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays and allows Americans to commemorate and reflect on the legacies of these two great Presidents.
4. Presidents Day is a federal holiday in the United States
Presidents Day is a federal holiday in the United States, which means that the federal government recognizes it and most government departments and agencies observe it.
This means that many government personnel will be off on Presidents Day, and most government offices will be closed.
Most schools and educational institutions across the country mark the holiday as well. This implies that on Presidents Day, students often take the day off and schools are closed.
Furthermore, many businesses and corporations around the country mark Presidents Day. Although it is not required by law for private businesses to close on Presidents Day, many do so in honor of the occasion.
This may cause some firms to close and some employees to take the day off.
5. Some states celebrate other Presidents.
While Presidents Day is primarily a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the birthdays of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, some states choose to recognize additional Presidents and significant persons in American history on the occasion.
In Arkansas, for example, Presidents Day is officially known as Arkansas Presidents’ Day, and it is a state holiday dedicated to honor all Presidents of the United States, not just Washington and Lincoln.
Presidents Day in Texas is officially known as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Day, and it is a state holiday commemorating Washington, Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.
Presidents Day is officially known as Presidents’ Day in Ohio, and it is a state holiday dedicated to honor all Presidents of the United States.
These states celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of other Presidents and significant figures in American history on Presidents Day, as well as reflect on the country’s rich political legacy.
6. Some states celebrate Presidents Day in December.
Some states have their own Presidents Day, which falls on a day other than the third Monday in February.
Presidents Day, for example, is honored as a state holiday in several states on the day after Thanksgiving, which is known as “The Day After Thanksgiving.”
This holiday is utilized to give employees and students an extra day off, and it is a time for family to spend together after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Other states commemorate Presidents Day as a state holiday on Christmas Eve, the day before Christmas Day. This holiday is utilized for families to spend time together before the Christmas vacation, as well as for employers and students to have an extra day off.
It is worth noting that the federal government does not recognize these state-recognized Presidents Days as a federal holiday, therefore they may not be observed by all businesses and schools in these states.
However, they are recognized as a state holiday by state governments and are observed by some employees and students.
7. Five Presidents were born in February.
In addition to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, three more United States Presidents were born in February. They are as follows:
- William Henry Harrison – born on February 9, 1773, was the ninth President of the United States and served the shortest tenure in American history, lasting only 31 days before succumbing to illness.
- Ronald Reagan – born on February 6, 1911, was the 40th President of the United States, serving two terms from 1981 to 1989. Reagan is largely considered to be one of the most powerful presidents in contemporary American history.
- Chester A. Arthur – born on October 5, 1829, was the 21st President of the United States, serving from 1881 to 1885. He took over the presidency when President James A. Garfield was assassinated and is noted for his efforts to modernize the civil service and his strong position on civil rights.
Along with Washington and Lincoln, these Presidents all played important roles in shaping the United States and are honored for their contributions to the country. Americans can celebrate and honor the legacies of these five Presidents and their contributions to American history by celebrating Presidents Day in February.
8. The United States Senate usually honors Presidents Day by reciting George Washington’s Farewell Address.
The United States Senate usually honors Presidents Day by reciting George Washington’s Farewell Address. Washington wrote the Farewell Address in 1796, as he was about to leave office after two terms as President.
In the letter, Washington reflects on his time in office, offers guidance for the country’s future, and expresses his hopes for the American people’s future.
The reading of Washington’s Farewell Address on Presidents Day is a long-standing tradition that serves as a reminder of Washington’s wisdom and guidance to the country during a period of significant transition and uncertainty.
By reading the Farewell Address on Presidents Day, the United States Senate is able to reflect on Washington’s legacy and the principles he stood for, as well as recognize his accomplishments to the country.
It is worth mentioning that reading Washington’s Farewell Address on Presidents Day is only symbolic and not legally compulsory. However, it is a long-standing practice in the United States Senate and is widely acknowledged as a key feature of the Presidents Day celebration.
9. Many groups run events and historical exhibits on Presidents Day.
Many patriotic and historical organizations use Presidents Day as a date for festivities and events. These organizations use the occasion to honor the legacies of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as well as to reflect on the country’s rich political legacy and democratic traditions.
Many historical groups and museums, for example, hold events and exhibits to commemorate the lives and legacies of Washington and Lincoln.
To commemorate Presidents Day, some towns hold parades, speeches, and other events, while many schools and educational institutions use the day to teach pupils about the history of the United States and the achievements of its Presidents.
Furthermore, many patriotic organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, utilize Presidents Day to recognize and celebrate the country’s war veterans and legacy.
10. Cherry pie has become a traditional food linked with Presidents Day
Cherry pie is a traditional meal linked with Presidents Day, particularly George Washington. The link between cherry pie and Presidents Day is based on the narrative of Washington chopping down a cherry tree in his youth.
According to legend, when George Washington was a child, he hacked down his father’s cherry tree with a hatchet. When challenged by his father, Washington allegedly confessed and stated, “I cannot tell a lie.”
This widely accepted invention has become an enduring part of American legend and is frequently cited to demonstrate Washington’s honesty and integrity.
On Presidents Day, many Americans serve cherry pie to commemorate Washington and celebrate his legacy.