Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Presidents' Day

Presidents' Day, also known as Washington's Birthday, is a national holiday in the United States of America celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is an amalgamation of two previous holidays, Lincoln's Birthday (February 12) and Washington's Birthday (February 22).

In American elementary schools the days leading up to President's Day are often used to educate students on the history of the Presidents of the United States, especially former Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

In recent years President's Day has become well-known for being a day in which many stores hold sales.

Observance on the third Monday of February dates to the Monday Holidays Act of 1968, which became effective in 1971. A draft of that bill called for a Presidents' Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but the final version only moved Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday without changing its name. In 1971, President Richard Nixon issued a proclamation calling for a Presidents' Day on the third Monday to honor all US presidents, but that did not have the force of law. As of 2003, the federal government still refers to the holiday as Washington's Birthday, while many state and local governments and private employers refer to it as Presidents' Day.

Adding to the confusion is that George Washington's birthday was nominally on February 11, but in the Julian calendar that predated England's calendar reformation in September 1752. His birthday is equivalent to February 22 in the Gregorian calendar used today.