The Origin of President’s Day

President’s Day is a holiday in the U.S. to celebrate the lives of past Presidents of the United States of America. But have you ever thought of the origin of this holiday and why it started?

When It Takes Place

President’s Day takes place on the third Monday of February every year. It is popularly recognized as the celebration of the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But that’s not where this holiday started.

The First President’s Day

In the 1880s, this day was marked as a federal holiday. It was used to celebrate and honor George Washington’s birthday on February 22. In 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved many federal holidays to be celebrated on Mondays. This change would allow civilians to have several long weekends throughout the year.

Some people opposed the idea because they believed the holidays should be celebrated on the day they were intended to be commemorated. During the debate, it was proposed that Washington’s birthday should be renamed to President’s Day to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). Lincoln’s birthday was not marked as a federal holiday at this point, although it was celebrated in a handful of states.

After debate in Congress, the name change was rejected, but the bill went into effect in 1971. Although, overtime President’s Day became a commonly accepted name. Mostly due to retailers’ using the name to promote sales during the holiday weekend. Other holidays including Veterans Day, Columbus Day, and Memorial Day were moved from their traditionally designated dates. However, due to nationwide criticism Veterans Day was moved back to its original designated date on November 11, 1978.

President’s Day is celebrated with public ceremonies every year in Washington D.C. and throughout the country. The holiday will fall on February 19, 2024. 

Who is your favorite President?