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The History of President's Day

George Washington is known to many as the first President of the United States and the man who led the colonial forces to victory over the British, becoming a national hero. He is also known to have formed a new nation and oversaw the drafting of the US Constitution. President’s Day was originally established to honor George Washington. It later became a federal holiday honoring all of our past presidents. President’s Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February. This year, the federal holiday occurred on February 21, 2023.

The holiday was created to make more 3-day weekends for the nation’s workers. Following the death of George Washington, his birthday on February 22nd became a day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was one of the most important figures in society. While his birthday was an unofficial holiday, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Initially, the holiday only applied to the District of Columbia, but later was extended to other parts of the United States.

Although the day was initially made to recognize George Washington, it was later renamed President’s Day. Four presidents have birthdays in February: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Henry Harrison, and Ronald Reagan. The federal holiday went from Washington’s birthday to President’s Day when Congress proposed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Promoted by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois, the law shifted the celebration of several holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also combined Washington’s birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which had been a separate holiday in Illinois.

President’s Day is a day to honor some of the most essential and valued presidents. You can spend this day buying a mattress on sale, or take a more historic approach and learn more about the history of the United States and its presidents.


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