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Presidents Day is officially recognized by the federal government as Washington’s Birthday, although many states have enacted a state holiday that falls on the same day each year. Read below to learn the history of that “other” holiday in February.
What does Presidents Day celebrate?
Who established Presidents Day?
An Act of Congress was responsible for founding the first Washington’s Birthday in 1880. It was originally a holiday for government offices located in Washington D.C. In 1885, the holidayexpanded to included all federal offices throughout the country. During this time, Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on George Washington’s actual birthday, on February 22. However, the holiday was moved to the third Monday of February in 1871 by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was enacted by Congress and stated that certain federal holidays should fall on a Monday (this act affected Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day).
Until 1951, the day was entirely known as Washington’s Birthday. The Presidents Day National Committee was formed by a man from California, Harold Stonebridge Fische. He believed that there should be a day to honor the office of the presidency, not any president in particular. However, his act was never passed, and the term Presidents Day never became federally recognized. Certain state governments have chosen to rename Washington’s Birthday as Presidents Day, however many still call the holiday, Washington’s Birthday. These states include Massachusetts (which celebrates a Presidents Day proclamation later in May), Alabama (which celebrates George Washington’s and Thomas Jefferson’s birthday on the same federal holiday) and Virginia (which celebrates the day as “George Washington Day”).
On which day of the week is Presidents Day held?
According to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was enacted by Congress on June 28, 1968, Presidents Day or Washington’s Birthday was moved to the third Monday of February each year. This means that the holiday falls anywhere between February 15 and February 21 (the 21st is one day shy of George Washington’s actual birthday on February 22nd).
When did Presidents Day become a holiday?
In 1880, the Congress enacted a federal holiday called Washington’s Birthday, originally held on February 22, the day of birth of the nation’s first president. The holiday originally called for all federal offices in Washington DC to be closed, but spread nationwide by 1995. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act dictated that Washington’s Birthday would fall on the third Monday of February, rather than on Washington’s actual birthday.
Is Presidents Day a federal holiday?
Presidents Day is not a federal holiday. Washington’s Birthday, which is celebrated on the same day as some states’ Presidents Day holidays, is a federally recognized holiday. It is Washington’s Birthday that dictates the closings of Federal and Governmental offices, and the United StatesPostal Service, not Presidents Day, which in some states is a state holiday.
Are banks open on Presidents Day?
Banks are almost always closed on Presidents Day.
How does the government celebrate Presidents Day?
In 1862, the United States Senate began reading George Washington’s Farewell Address on February 22. In addition to this tribute, Washington’s Birthday is a federal holiday, which means that all governmental offices are closed and regular mail delivery does not take place.
Common Presidents Day celebrations?
Presidents Day has diverged a bit from its original intentions in the present day. Today, Presidents Day reminds Americans that there are car dealerships holding large sales promotions.
In addition to retail sales at clothing stores, car dealerships, grocery stores and elsewhere, more traditional celebrations includes parades. Alexandria, Virginia, Washington’s home state, holds an annual parade, the oldest Washington’s Birthday parade in the US. Birthday celebrations are held at George Washington’s Birthplace National Monument in Virginia during the entire month of February.
Who are the commonly remembered Presidents on Presidents Day?
The federal Washington’s Birthday holiday is a tribute to Washington, who was the first President and a major fixture in the War for Independence.
The celebrations are different across the United States. In some locations, George Washington is honored, while in other areas George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are honored. In still some other areas, all presidents are remembered for their service and dedication to their country. Some states take the day to mark a celebration for all presidents, past and present. Others celebrate the actual office of the presidency (and no president in particular), which is why the day was originally nominated to be renamed Presidents Day in 1951 by the Presidents Day National Committee.
Those individuals that remember Presidents Day (or Washington’s Birthday) as a celebration of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays may do so of their own will, however the day itself is not meant to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, which was February 12. Connecticut, Missouri and Illinois have separate state holidays on February 12 to celebrate the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
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