The third Monday in February marks the annual observance of Presidents’ Day. This year, it falls on Feb. 15. It is a federal holiday that recognizes the past presidents of the United States. But why does this day fall in February? Let’s take a look at the history of Presidents’ Day.
The celebration of Presidents’ Day dates back to 1800. After the death of our nation’s first president, George Washington, in 1799, his Feb. 22 birthday became a day of remembrance. As the country’s first president, Washington was rightfully viewed as one of the most important persons in the history of the United States. In 1879, his birthday became a federal holiday in the District of Columbia then expanded nationally in 1885. Back then, the federal holiday was merely known as “Washington’s Birthday.”
In 1971, the day was moved to be celebrated on the third Monday of February as part of the Uniform Holiday Act, in order to make more three-day holiday weekends. This move was cause for some controversy but was ultimately widely supported by businesses and labor unions alike. The action also allowed the celebration of Presidents’ Day to fall in between Washington’s Birthday on Feb. 22 and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12. Most people recognize these past executives as two of the most prominent presidents in United States’ history, both deserving of celebration.
Without knowing the history and meaning of the day, you might have thought Presidents’ Day was just another long weekend full of retail sales. But it means so much more than that. Like Washington and Lincoln, our country has had many great presidents to remember and appreciate. So, this year, take some time to learn more about the history of the office of the president. After that, you can head out to find that bargain!
Today marks the annual observance of Presidents' Day. Jake Balbach shares the history behind this day.