Monday, February 19, 2018 – George Washington’s Birthday (Presidents Day)
President’s Day is a holiday in the United States. The event is celebrated every year on the third Monday in the month of February in honor of the first President of the United States, George Washington. The federal government still officially refers to the day as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’
The day was originally established in 1885 in recognition of the first President and was traditionally observed on February 22nd, which happens to be George Washington’s actual date of birth. However, as a part of the 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create three-day weekends for the workers of the country, the day was moved to the third Monday in February and came to be popularly called President’s Day. The President’s Day honors all the Presidents of the U.S. – past, and present – and many states in the country still have individual holidays which honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and other important figures.
The origin of the President’s Day can be traced back to 1880. One of the most respected figures in the U.S. history, George Washington died on December 14th, 1799, and his birthday in 1800 became a day of remembrance. However, it was in the late 1870s that the day began to be observed as a federal holiday. The measure to turn the day into a federal holiday was first proposed by Arkansas Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey, and in 1879 was signed into a law by President Rutherford B. Hayes. Originally the holiday was only observed in the District of Colombia, but by 1885 it was expanded to the entire United States.
How is the day celebrated in the United States?
President’s day is an important day in the country and every year millions of workers and school children around the country get a day off. A number of patriotic and historical groups organize celebrations, reenactments and other interesting events on this day. In a number of states during the days preceding the President’s Day, children are taught about the achievements that have been made by the various Presidents of the country; however, the focus is mainly on the two leading figures – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. (Lincoln’s birthday is February 12th) On this day, public ceremonies are also held in Washington D.C. and across the entire country.
There are a number of places where people can visit on Presidents Day to get a glimpse of the two great leaders who were born in the same month. The George Washington Birthplace National Monument in VA holds celebrations on both days – President’s Day and the actual birthday of the first President. Also, George Washington’s DC area home, Mount Vernon, is a great place to visit.
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana celebrates Lincoln Day every year on a Sunday that is closest to February 12th. Special birthday programs are also held at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Illinois.