George Washington was the first president of United States of America from 1789 to 1793 and again from 1793 to 1797. President’s Day, or Washington’s Birthday as it is still legally known, was originally designed as a celebration of George Washington’s birthdate.
Presidents Day History
In 1880, Congress voted to make this the first national holiday which honored an individual.
In 1885 the federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress.
In 1971 the holiday was shifted to the third Monday of February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The law championed by the Senator Robert McClory shifted the celebration of several federal holidays from their specific dates to predetermine Mondays. It was argued that shifting the original dates would cheapen the celebration and their meanings but it also had wide support from public sector as to the fact that now it would give them an extra holiday of Monday.
The bill also included a provision to rename the federal holiday “Washington’s Birthday” to “Presidents Day” as the holiday would then honor the two legends George Washington (22 Feb) and Abraham Lincoln (12 Feb) as both of their birthday falls around mid of February. Congress rejected the name change but it was more popularly known as the “Presidents Day” after it was moved by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
Facts about Presidents Day – Presidents Day History
- According to the Julian calendar, Washington was born February 11, 1732. The Gregorian calendar was adopted in 1752, changing Washington’s birthday to February 22.
- Since 1888, Washington’s Farewell Address has been read aloud in the U.S. Senate on February 22nd.
- George Washington was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, first U.S. President, and President of the Constitutional Convention.
- Presidents Day never falls on Washington’s actual birthdate (Feb. 22). The third Monday in February can never be any later than February 21st.