- Washington's Birthday
date=Third Monday in February
observances=Community, historical celebrations; honoring the veterans and purple heart recipients; Congressional recognition.
longtype=Federal (and most U.S. states)
significance= Honors American Revolutionary War General, Chairman of Constitutional Convention, first U.S. President
Washington's Birthday is a United States
federal holidaycelebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (or President's Day). As Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holidaycelebrated on the same day in a number of states.
Titled Washington's Birthday, the federal holiday was originally implemented by the United States federal government in 1880 for government offices in the
District of Columbia(20 Stat. 277) and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices (23 Stat. 516). As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, February 22. On January 1 1971the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. A draft of the Uniform Holidays Bill of 1968 would have renamed the holiday to Presidents' Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln, but this proposal failed in committee and the bill as voted on and signed into law on June 28, 1968kept the name Washington's Birthday.
In the late 1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term "President's Day" began its public appearance. The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February,
Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations. However, "Presidents Day" is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday," state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. [ [http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/6-15vv.htm The General Laws of Massachusetts] ] (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as "Washington and Jefferson Day", even though Jefferson's birthday was in April. [ [http://shpda.state.al.us/holidays.html State of Alabama Legal Holidays] ] In California, Connecticutand Illinois, while Presidents Day is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week.
In Washington's home state of
Virginiathe holiday is legally known as "George Washington Day."
Observance and traditions
Many American schools use the days leading up to Presidents Day to educate students about the history of the Presidents of the United States, especially Washington and Lincoln.
However, when reviewing the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill debate of 1968 in the Congressional Record, one notes that supporters of the Bill were intent on moving federal holidays to Mondays to promote business. Over time, as with many federal holidays, few Americans actually celebrate Presidents Day, and it is mainly known as a day off from work or school, although most non-governmental workers do not get the day off.
Consequently, some schools, which used to close for a single day for both Lincoln's and Washington's birthday, now often close for the entire week (beginning with the Monday holiday) as a "mid-winter recess". For example, the
New York Cityschool district began doing so in the late 1990s.
The federal holiday Washington's Birthday honors the accomplishments of the man who has been referred to, for over two centuries, as "The Father of his Country". Celebrated for his leadership in the founding of the nation, he was the
Electoral College's unanimous choice to become the first President; he was seen as a unifying force for the new republic and set an example for future holders of the office.
The holiday is also a tribute to the general who created the first military badge of merit for the common soldier. Revived on Washington's 200th birthday in 1932, the
Purple Heartrecognizes injuries received in battle. Like Memorial Dayand Veterans Day, Washington's Birthday weekend offers another opportunity to honor the country's veterans.
Community celebrations often display a lengthy heritage. Historic
Alexandria, Virginia, hosts a month-long tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade, while the community of Eustis, Florida, continues its annual "George Fest" celebration begun in 1902. At the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and at Mount Vernon in Alexandria, Virginia, visitors are treated to birthday celebrations throughout the federal holiday weekend and through February 22.
Alabama, the third Monday in February commemorates the birthdays of both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April). [ [http://www.legislature.state.al.us/codeofalabama/1975/1-3-8.htm Section 1-3-8 ] ]
Arkansas, the third Monday in February is "George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day," an official state holiday.
New Mexico, President's Day, at least as a state government paid holiday, is observed on the Friday following Thanksgiving. [ [http://www.stonm.org/AboutTheTreasurersOffice/OfficialStateHolidays Official State Holidays | New Mexico State Treasurer's Office ] ]
In 2007, the country celebrated both Washington's 275th birthday and the 75th anniversary of the rebirth of the Purple Heart medal.
Since 1862, there has been a tradition in the
United States Senatethat George Washington's Farewell Address [ [http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/FarewellAddressBook.htm Washington's Farewell Address] ] be read on his birthday. Citizens had asked that this be done in light of the approaching Civil War. The annual tradition continues with the reading of the address on or near Washington's Birthday.
Because Presidents Day is not the official name of the federal holiday, there is variation in how it is rendered. Both Presidents Day and Presidents' Day are today common, and both are considered correct by dictionaries and usage manuals. Presidents' Day was once the predominant style, and it is still favored by the majority of significant authorities—notably, "
The Chicago Manual of Style" (followed by most book publishers and some magazines), The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Webster's Third International Dictionary, and Garner's Modern American Usage. In recent years, as the use of attributive nouns (nouns acting as adjectives) has become more widespread, the popularity of Presidents Day has increased. [ [http://blogs.newsobserver.com/grammar/index.php?title=kids_day_or_kids_day_1&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 Kids Day or Kids' Day] from Newsobserver.com/] This style is favored by the Associated Press Stylebook(followed by most newspapers and some magazines) and the Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference (ISBN 978-1582973357).
President's Day is a misspelling when used with the intention of celebrating more than one individual (see also
apostrophe); however, as an alternate rendering of "Washington's birthday," or as denominating the commemoration of the presidency as a singular institution, it is a proper spelling. Indeed, this spelling was considered for use as the official federal designation by Robert McClory, a congressman from Illinois who was tasked with getting the 1968 federal holiday reorganization bill through the House Judiciary Committee. Nonetheless, while Washington's Birthday was originally established to honor George Washington, the term Presidents Day was informally coined in a deliberate attempt to use the holiday to honor multiple presidents, and is virtually always used that way today. [ [http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/winter/gw-birthday-1.html By George, IT IS Washington's Birthday! ] ] Though President's Day is sometimes seen in print [ [http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/070219talk_hertzberg] ] --even sometimes on government Web sites [ [http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/02/20070219.html whitehouse.gov/news dd. 2007-02-19] ] -- this style is not endorsed by any major dictionary or usage authority.
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Washington's Birthday — Washington’s Birthday, oder auch Presidents’ Day (dt. Tag der Präsidenten und Präsidentinnen) wird in den USA jeweils am dritten Montag im Februar gefeiert. Ursprünglich wurde der 22. Februar als Nationalfeiertag begangen, der Geburtstag von… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Washington’s Birthday — Washington s Birthday, oder auch Presidents Day (dt. Tag der Präsidenten) wird in den USA jeweils am dritten Montag im Februar gefeiert. Ursprünglich wurde der 22. Februar als Nationalfeiertag begangen, der Geburtstag von George Washington, Held… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Washington's Birthday — n. Feb. 22, George Washington s birthday: it is celebrated as a legal holiday in most states on the third Monday in February … English World dictionary
Washington's Birthday — noun the day on which George Washington is remembered • Syn: ↑February 22 • Regions: ↑United States, ↑United States of America, ↑America, ↑the States, ↑US, ↑U.S., ↑ … Useful english dictionary
Washington's Birthday — Presidents Day Le Presidents Day, ou Presidents Day (Jour des présidents), est le nom que les américains donnent à un jour férié fédéral en l honneur des différents présidents des États Unis, officiellement désigné sous le nom de Washington s… … Wikipédia en Français
Washington's Birthday — noun A federal holiday in the USA celebrated on the third Monday of February, during which , especially , are celebrated or remembered. Syn: Presidents Day, George Washingtons Birthday … Wiktionary
Washington's Birthday — noun Etymology: George Washington Date: 1829 1. February 22 formerly observed as a legal holiday in most of the states of the United States 2. the third Monday in February observed as a legal holiday in most of the states of the U.S. called also… … New Collegiate Dictionary
Washington's Birthday — 1. February 22, formerly observed as a legal holiday in most states of the U.S. in honor of the birth of George Washington. 2. See Presidents Day. * * * … Universalium
Washington's Birthday — Wash′ington s Birth′day n. 1) February 22, formerly observed as a legal holiday in most states of the U.S. in honor of the birth of George Washington 2) Presidents Day … From formal English to slang
Washington's Birthday Celebration — infobox music festival music festival name = Washington s Birthday Celebration location = Laredo, Texas years active= 1898 Present dates = Annually; Mid January to End of February genre = Jamboozie: Rock Alternative Spanish Rock Tejano website =… … Wikipedia