The third Monday in February is set aside to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s first President – George Washington.
Our offices will be closed Monday, February 19th in observance of the holiday.
The day is not officially a celebration of all Presidents even though it has slowly become known as Presidents’ Day. Washington was the very first individual American whose life was officially celebrated with a holiday. (The second was Martin Luther King Jr. whose birthday became a federal holiday in 1983.)
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “Washington’s February 22 birthday has actually been a federally recognized holiday since 1879. But the Presidents’ Day confusion got its start in 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill. The legislation declared that three national holidays—Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Veterans’ Day—would be celebrated on Mondays, rather than their fixed calendar dates. (Veterans’ Day would later be moved back to its original November 11 date.) The move was intended to avoid mid-week holiday interruptions and establish a set number of three-day weekends for federal employees.”
There is no real reason why we refer to this February holiday as an all Presidents’ Day, but one factor that may have added to the confusion is that states are not required to observe federal holidays, so many passed their own resolutions concerning the same observances. Many have included the celebration of all, or specific Presidents (like Lincoln), in their state holidays. Another contributing factor is that many printed calendars and calendar applications label the day as Presidents’ Day. (I’m looking at you Google.) And then there are the annual car commercials touting “Presidents’ Day savings.”
If you get Monday off, please enjoy.
Fun Facts About American Presidents