To many students, Presidents’ Day means a day off or even a week if they are lucky. But what exactly is the holiday all about?
The third Monday of every February is celebrated in the United States as Presidents Day. The day is intended to honor all American Presidents, but most significantly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln - the two most respected US Presidents.
According to the Gregorian calendar, George Washington was born on February 22. However, according to the Julian (Old style) calendar, he was born on February 11. A holiday honoring George Washington’s birthday was first celebrated in 1885, though back then people were split about which date to honor George Washington’s birthday. When Abraham Lincoln became President and helped reshape history, many wanted to honor him as well. Lincoln was born on February 12.
Celebrating two Presidents' birthdays in the same month can be quite disruptive. In 1968 Congress decided to create a uniform system of federal Monday holidays. They voted to shift Washington’s birthday and celebrate it as President’s Day to honor Abraham Lincoln and other Presidents as well. A Monday holiday gives US workers a long weekend. But did you know that the calendar is very quirky? Feb 22 will never fall on a Monday!
On this day most U.S. government offices and buildings, banks, stock market and the U.S. Postal Service are closed. Many stores use the long holiday weekend to run special sales.