Today is Presidents’ Day. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed this entry on my calendar, I realized I really don’t remember much about why this is a day I can’t get mail or go to into a bank. As I started looking into it, I found what I thought I knew was wrong.
So you’ll be a better Jeopardy contestant, I’ll share with you what I learned:
- Presidents’ Day was first celebrated in 1885, to commemorate the birthday of the first U.S. President, George Washington. Presidents’ Day is still officially known as “Washington’s Birthday” by the U.S. government.
- We need to lobby our congressmen for more three-day weekends. The National Holiday Act of 1971 established a standard for the date of honoring Washington’s birthday and created three-day weekends for federal employees.
- Because President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday also falls in February, there were folks lobbying to have the name of the holiday changed to honor both presidents. This effort fell flat in the legislation, but we’re a stubborn bunch and have been calling the date “Presidents’ Day” ever since. The holiday has seemed to morph into a date to honor all presidents, past and present.
What misconceptions did you have about this holiday?