18-02-17 Presidents Day

March 30, 2021
18-02-17 Presidents Day

Whether you celebrate President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, or Presidents Day … none are official federal holidays.

So what is?

Washington’s Birthday

  • 1879: George Washington’s birthday becomes a federal holiday.
  • In 1968, Congress mandated most federal holidays moved to Mondays to give federal workers a 3-day weekend & boost the economy (sales/travel).
  • Some tried to change holiday officially to “Presidents Day” but the legislation never passed, so it remains Washington’s Birthday (ironically, Pres. Washington was quite a shopper).
“Mrs. Washington’s slippers and clogs have come safe to hand, the latter, however, are not as she wished to have … and will, by the first convenient opportunity, return the clogs to Mr. Palmer and get a pair of galoshes.”

Pres. Washington on March 15, 1789, ordering his wife shoes from London. He regularly ordered "designer shoes" for his wife from a London broker.

Pres. George Washington

  • After serving as leader of the Continental Army, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention – where the Constitution was created, signed and ratified.
  • Unanimously elected president twice (1789 & 1792).
  • His birthday (Feb. 22) was an unofficial holiday celebrated by for many years; it became a federal holiday 80 years after his death.

What About Pres. Lincoln?

President Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. (BTW – some states recognize Presidents Day, rather than Washington’s Birthday, to include other leaders).

Presidents Reagan & Harrison were also born in February.

President Washington & MLK Jr. are the ONLY two Americans whose birthdays are *official* federal holidays.

Since the late 1890s, the Senate follows a tradition of reading Pres. Washington's Farewell Address – words he penned after he decided not to seek a third term as president, and to return to Mt. Vernon instead. Read it for yourself on our source page:

Washington’s Farewell Address

by Jenna Lee,