Story Behind President's Day

Happy President’s Day! Washington’s Birthday, also known as President’s Day, is held on the 3rd Monday of February. This day is celebrated to honor the presidents of the United States, including George Washington (USA’s first president). How did we come to celebrate President’s day and how did the holiday originate?

According to, “In 1879, the United States made Washington's February 22nd Birthday a federal holiday” and that the “national celebration of his birthday began while he was alive and continued after his death”.

While Washington’s Birthday is still recognized on this day, it was around the late 20th century when it also became known as President’s Day.

So why did the holiday move into a Monday? Before 1968, this holiday was always celebrated on February 22nd. That is, until the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law allowed for legal public holidays to be celebrated on Mondays, giving federal employees the chance to have 3- day weekends.

The term “President’s Day” was popularized in the 1980’s due to advertising campaigns for holiday sales. This was when the term became largely accepted even though the government never changed the name of the holiday.

Do you feel that Washington’s Birthday has now been forgotten due to the more popularized name for the holiday “President’s Day”? Is he deserving to have his own holiday again? Let us know in the comments below.


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