What is Presidents' Day? Who the federal holiday celebrates and why
For many of us, Presidents' Day means getting a day off from work and school and having a three-day weekend. But, do you know the history behind how this federal holiday came to be?
The third Monday in February specifically honors the first U.S. president George Washington and the 16th U.S. president Abraham Lincoln.
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Congress designated February 22, George Washington's birthday, as a holiday for all federal workers in 1885. In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Law changed the date to the third Monday in February.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Law aimed to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, according to History, shifting several federal holidays from specific dates to predetermined Mondays.
The position of the holiday between the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, born on February 12, gave rise to the popular name of Presidents' Day, according to the National Archives.
Presidents' Day is now popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives.
Many banks and schools are closed in observance of Presidents' Day. The New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ are closed for trading on Presidents' Day. The post office is not open and non-essential federal workers have the day off.