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The History of Presidents’ Day

Image by US Census Bureau

Presidents’ Day, also known officially as Washington’s birthday, is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the third Monday of February each year. This year, it will be celebrated on Monday, February 19th. This holiday holds a great amount of historical significance for the nation, as it honors the birthdays of both presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

HISTORY

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Presidents’ Day finds its history rooted in the celebration of the birthday of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington. Washington was born on February 22, 1732, and his birthday became a federal holiday in 1885. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 moved the observance of the holiday from the day of Washington’s actual birthday to simply the third Monday in February every year. This ensured that federal employees would be allowed three-day weekends. Though the holiday was initially intended to celebrate Washington’s birthday, it also evolved to include 16th president Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, as well. Lincoln’s birthday is February 12. The term Presidents’ Day became popular around the 1980s and was soon used to describe this holiday to honor both Washington, Lincoln, and all previous other US presidents.

SIGNIFICANCE

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Presidents’ Day holds significance beyond simply commemorating the birthdays of two influential presidents (Washington and Lincoln). It serves as an occasion to reflect on the leadership, sacrifices, and contributions of all individuals who have held the highest office in the country. The day is also an opportunity for Americans to appreciate the achievements, challenges, and legacies of their presidents throughout history. In recent years, Presidents’ Day has now become associated with dozens of retail sales and promotions, as many businesses try to take advantage of the federal holiday and long weekend by offering loads of discounts and special deals on their items. This aspect of the holiday often draws more shoppers to shopping centers and malls, turning it into a holiday of commerce and consumer activity as well!

OBSERVANCES

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Various activities mark the observance of Presidents’ Day. Some communities will organize parades, while others host educational events for children and adults that are solely focused on the lives of Washington and Lincoln. Some schools may try to incorporate lessons about the presidents as well. Others like to use the holiday weekend for activities such as travel or relaxation. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the historical parts of this holiday, with more and more museums and historical sites offering special programs to engage the public in learning more about the nation and its presidential history.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY

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Presidents’ Day was born out of the desire to honor George Washington, and it slowly grew into a celebration for all US presidents. It is a day to reflect on the leadership and impact that each of these individuals had while in office, and to recognize their role in the shaping of this country’s past, present, and future. Whether it is through educational activities, community events, or more, Americans come together every year on Presidents’ Day to remember and appreciate the leaders who have guided this country for centuries.

Sharon Joseph
Sharon Josephhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-joseph-547586246
Hello! I am currently a second-year business management student at the University of Georgia. I have a passion for dance, trying new recipes, and traveling to new cities!

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