Why Do We Celebrate President’s Day?

Why Do We Celebrate President's Day?

For most students, the third Monday of February is just another day off of school. But President’s day is an important holiday, which not only celebrates George Washington’s birthday but also honors everyone who held the prestigious position.

George Washington, the first US President and one of the few names most people in the world can recognize, was born on February 22nd, 1732. So why isn’t it celebrated on that day? It was moved to the third Monday of February in 1971 when, in an attempt to create more three day weekends for workers, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed. The act also added Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and Veteran’s Day to the national calendar.

When the bill was passed, the provision which created the holiday expressly called it Washington’s Birthday. The new date fell between Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, and American citizens quickly assumed it was meant to celebrate both Presidents, leading to the name of President’s day. Marketers soon jumped onto the train and President’s day sales popped up around the country.

Many states, Texas included, call the holiday President’s (or Presidents or Presidents’) day, but as it is a state holiday, there are a variety of different names for it. Utah, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, and Minnesota call it Washington Lincoln day. Alabama celebrates George Washington/Thomas Jefferson Birthday, and Arkansas recognizes George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates day.

Since President’s day is such an important holiday, why do so few people care about it? Mostly, because it is eclipsed by the Fourth of July. President’s day is a patriotic holiday, but Independence day is THE patriotic holiday. President’s day is just another school day off and another time of sales.

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