How did President’s Day become a holiday?

The question

How did President’s Day become a holiday?

-Maverick, Laquey Elementary School

The Answer

In the 1880s President’s Day was celebrated as George Washington’s birthday.

In 1968, Congress passed a law called the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill. This law moved many holidays to Mondays so people could have a long weekend off from work.

While the bill was discussed in Congress, it was proposed that Washington’s Birthday holiday be changed to President’s Day.

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is Feb. 12, ten days away from Washington’s Feb. 22. People thought the day should be to celebrate all presidents, not just Washington.

Congress did not agree and President’s Day is still officially on the books as Washington’s Birthday. It became commonly called President’s Day because stores used the name in ads and promotions to generate sales for the holiday.

The use of the name President’s Day has become such a common practice that most people believe the day is meant to honor all presidents. The bill that finally passed in 1971 still named the day as a commemoration of Washington’s birthday.

What this means to you

President’s Day is a federal holiday and falls on the third Monday in February every year. As a federal holiday, many schools, businesses and government offices are closed.

President’s Day usually means a day off from work or school and the chance to find sales in many stores.