President’s Day: What’s in a name? |

President’s Day: What’s in a name?

What Americans celebrate as President’s Day was originally Washington’s Birthday, named for the Commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War and the first President of the Unites States of America, from 1789-1797. George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732. It was the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, and was enacted in 1880 for the District of Columbia, then for all U.S. federal offices in 1885. The term President’s Day came up for legal consideration in the Congress in 1968, but was shot down, although the date was changed to fall between two presidential birthdays. In 1976, it was officially moved to the third Monday in February, to also honor Abraham Lincoln, who was born Feb. 12, 1809, and served as the 16th President of the United states from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Advertisers aided a resurgence of the term President’s Day in the 1980s, which helped solidify the name in American culture.

Currently 12 states have renamed Washington’s Birthday, President’s Day or a similar variation to honor all of the U.S. presidents.

– Information from