President's Day Knowledge

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President's Day Knowledge
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By edhat staff

While everyone is enjoying their much needed day off work, catch up on some interesting President's Day facts.

President's Day is a United States federal holiday celebrated this year on Monday, February 18. It honors George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia. 

The holiday was established by Congress in 1885 and started as a celebration of Washington’s birthday in Washington, D.C., but was later expanded to the rest of the country.

Why are so many federal holidays on a Monday?

Because people enjoy long weekends instead of a random Wednesday off. President's Day was celebrated on February 22 until 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect. Along with Washington’s birthday, the new law also established Monday holidays for Memorial Day, Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly known as Columbus Day), and Veterans Day.

When did President Abraham Lincoln join the holiday?

He didn't, well not officially. When Washington’s birthday shifted to Presidents Day, people started to think the new date meant to celebrate both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday also fell in February. Keeping in stride, advertisers began using the three-day weekend as an opportunity to push shopping sales and bargains, according to Now nearly half of U.S. states recognize the day as Abe and Georgie's birthdays.

Who closes their business?

Back in the day, nearly everyone closed for the holiday. Since marketers and advertisers started to promote President's Day sales, that changed the course for some businesses. Federal and state government services close (U.S. Postal Service, state Departments of Motor Vehicles, federal and state courts). Class schedules at universities and colleges vary depending on the school. Public elementary and secondary schools are generally closed, but some school districts, such as New York City, may close for an entire week as a "mid-winter recess."

Who celebrates this day the best?

That would have to be Washington's birthplace of Alexandria, Virginia. They host a month-long tribute, including what is claimed to be the nation's longest-running and largest George Washington Birthday parade. Another town, Eustis, Florida, continues its annual "GeorgeFest" celebration that begun in 1902. At the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations on the holiday, while at Mount Vernon, they last throughout the holiday weekend and through February 22. (wikipedia)

President's Day Food?

According to wikipedia, some people celebrate the day by eating cherry pie based on the legendary chopping down of a cherry tree in Washington's youth.

Whether you're working some of those President's Day discounts or lounging around eating cherry pie, Happy George Washington's birthday, and sometimes Abe Lincoln's birthday, to you!

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a-1582143622 Feb 19, 2019 11:25 AM
President's Day Knowledge

Maybe EdHat should re-title this article from "President's Day Knowledge" to "Presidents' Day Misinformation"?

a-1582143622 Feb 19, 2019 07:48 AM
President's Day Knowledge

I preferred the separate holidays. We took our kids to Yosemite on Lincolns' bday weekend. As schools started combining to 'presidents' day, our district kept it separate for a few years. We would go to a nearly-empty Yosemite for winter activities. It was glorious.

Factotum Feb 18, 2019 10:27 PM
President's Day Knowledge

Government employee unions lobbied the holiday and they are the ones who primarily get to enjoy it. Government employee unions have been able to create a Monday holiday for nearly every one of the 12 months -which means 12 extra vacation days for them on top of the vacation perks and paid leave days they already get. Consider a career in local government, if you want to live in Santa Barbara.

a-1582143622 Feb 18, 2019 09:55 PM
President's Day Knowledge

Back in the day I used to make cherry pie. A dash of almond extract is paramount. Um . . . hot tart cherries in a whole wheat pastry flour crust. Perfect cold weather comfort.

a-1582143622 Feb 18, 2019 05:19 PM
President's Day Knowledge

Springfield is not Disneyland. It's low key. When you go to New Salem State Park, you are in farm country. Lots of corn fields and hard working farmers who feed the world. Go to the small cafes in small town America (Lincoln, Petersburg, Virginia, Pleasant Plains), enjoy breaded fried foods, talk to middle Americans, listen, don't expect people to turn flips when you say you're from California...and you will be surprised at how kindly you are treated, and respected. Spend money in America. Aug. 8-18 Illinois State Fair in Springfield. See real art...the butter cow.

Flicka Feb 18, 2019 03:38 PM
President's Day Knowledge

I always thought we were celebrating Washington and Lincoln, that was why it's called "Presidents Day". I also remember before the Monday celebration came in we celebrated Washington's birthday on the 22nd and Lincoln's on the 12th. Not holidays but studying them in school and honoring them.

Potif Feb 18, 2019 06:55 PM
President's Day Knowledge

The places I was living in also had both Lincoln and Washington's birthdays as days off, which made for some sad kids when they combined them into only one day off ;) And, as I also recall... they were combined, which is why they refer to it as Presidents Day, and not just as Washington's Birthday. It was helpful for that reason too, that both of these great men were born in the same month.

mtndriver Feb 18, 2019 04:35 PM
President's Day Knowledge

The article ignores Lincoln's birthday. I guess a lot of people aren't old enough to remember the separate holiday for that. Loved it in elementary school, two days off in February!

a-1582143622 Feb 18, 2019 02:50 PM
President's Day Knowledge

Springfield, Illinois, fly into St.Louis, rent a car and drive to Springfield. Lincoln's Tomb is there. Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837, camping-217-632-4000. Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum-documents the life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, and the course of the American Civil War (217) 558-8844. Old Courthouse, Lincoln's Home, much more. State Capitol (where President Obama was a member), Grand Army of the Republic. Visit Springfield - Crown Plaza Hotel is by Lake Springfield:

Potif Feb 18, 2019 02:23 PM
President's Day Knowledge

When I was a child, we celebrated both Washington and Lincoln's birthday, (Especially during the times we lived in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., but also when we lived in Hawaii) It was decided when they created President's day to celebrate them both together, since they were born in the same month.

Resident Feb 19, 2019 11:07 AM
President's Day Knowledge

Very true. Both Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays were celebrated on their dates - 22 Feb and 12 Feb respectively. In '71, President's Day was invented that combined their birthday celebrations in order to give the federal workers (and others) another 3-day weekend.

a-1582143622 Feb 18, 2019 02:05 PM
President's Day Knowledge

President Abraham Lincoln's second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865: "On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it--all sought to avert it." 3rd paragraph, "One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war." Last paragraph: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as Gold gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." President Lincoln was assassinated one month later - April 14, 1865.

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