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Washington's Birthday or President's Day

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Washington's Birthday or President's Day
Washingtons-Birthday.png
Dixie Allan

President's Day never falls on the actual birthday of any American president. Four chief executives—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were born in February, but their birthdays all come either too early or late to coincide with Presidents’ Day, which is always celebrated on the third Monday of February.

On January 1, 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect and transformed several traditional holidays celebrated throughout the year to Monday dates and it included the remembrance of Washington’s Birthday. So, contrary to popular perception, this legislation did not establish a “Presidents Day” to combine a celebration of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was debated by Congress and signed into law on June 28, 1968, and was simply designed to increase the quantity of three-day weekends for all federal employees. Although there had been an early draft of the Congressional calendar shell game that would have made Washington’s Birthday officially into “Presidents’ Day” (to honor both presidents - Lincoln and Washington), it did not make it through the preliminary committee and  the original name was maintained as “Washington’s Birthday.”  

Individual states can follow their own holiday list and many of them choose to also honor Lincoln, calling the celebration President's Day.

Page 2 - President's Day Image

Page 3 - Washington's Birthday Image

Page 4 - Lincoln's Birthday Image

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