The History and Confusion of President's Day in the United States

TLDR President's Day in the United States has a complex and confusing history, with its origins dating back to 1870. It is not an official federal holiday, but is observed on the third Monday in February and celebrated differently in different states.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 President's Day in the United States is a holiday with a fascinating history that many people are unaware of, and it didn't officially exist until 1870.
02:01 The initial legislation in 1870 recognized four official holidays, and in 1879, George Washington's birthday was added to the list, even though his actual birth date was February 11th, 1731, because of a calendar change in 1752.
03:44 George Washington's birthday was changed to February 22nd due to a calendar change, and although it used to be celebrated on that day, it is now observed on the third Monday in February.
05:28 Despite not being an official federal holiday, many people began celebrating Lincoln's birthday on Washington's birthday, leading to the informal name of President's Day, which is not a federal holiday but does exist at the state level.
07:22 President's Day can be spelled with an apostrophe, without an apostrophe, or with an apostrophe before the S, and all three versions are official holidays in different states.
09:27 President's Day is celebrated on different dates in different states, with some states honoring specific presidents and others attaching the holiday to existing days off work.
11:06 President's Day, or George Washington's birthday, is a complex and confusing holiday that most people wouldn't want to get rid of, even though it doesn't really exist except in certain states.
Categories: History Education

Browse more History