Presidents’ Day falls on the third Monday of February in the United States. It is also known as Washington’s birthday, after George Washington, the first president of the United States.
The day is meant to celebrate George Washington and all the presidents of the United States. It became a federal holiday in 1879. Although there was an attempt in 1968 to officially convene the third Monday of Presidents’ Day in February, it failed. Eventually that happened in 1971. Yet many states choose to call this day Presidents’ Day instead of Washington’s Birthday. Some states also celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday at this time as well.
Interesting facts about presidents’ day:
- Presidents’ Day / Washington’s birthday is a federal holiday in the United States. Although George’s birthday was on February 22, the day is officially celebrated on the third Monday in February.
- In the 1700s, George Washington‘s birthday was celebrated while he was still alive, and many in the United States participated in the festivities. He was born in 1732 and died in 1799.
- George Washington was president for two terms, from 1789 to 1793 and from 1793 to 1797.
- George Washington had important military roles before becoming president. Under his leadership, the American Continental Army defeated the British in 1783. Many believe that he is the most important politician in the history of the United States.
- In 1879, approximately a century later, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the bill that turned February 22 into a federal holiday.
- The birthday of Abraham Lincoln is closely related to George Washington, but his is not a federal holiday. Many states still celebrate their birthday together with George Washington.
- There are three universities and the capital of the United States, Washington DC with the name of George Washington, like the state of Washington.
- George Washington appears on the quarter dollar coin and the one dollar bill.
- Cherries are popular when desserts are made to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The reason for the popularity of cherries is directly related to a story about George Washington. When asked if he had cut a cherry tree, George Washington said he could not lie.
- In the late 1980s, it became common for retailers to use Presidents’ Day as a day to sell old shares.
- Since 1888, George Washington’s farewell speech was read in the Senate on February 22 most of the years.
- Schools often organize lessons and other activities for their students in the days leading up to the holidays. Some occur weeks later as the holiday sometimes falls during the week the school is closed during the mid-winter break.
- Some spell it on President’s Day and others spell it on President’s Day. President’s Day refers to more than one president, while President’s Day refers to a President. The difference in spelling may be due to the fact that some celebrate George Washington only on this day and others celebrate George and Abraham Lincoln, while others may be celebrating all the presidents.
- Although it is a federal holiday, each state is free to call it to their liking and to celebrate.
- There were four presidents born in February, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Harrison and Ronald Reagan. Most celebrate President’s Day in honor of the first two.