Washington’s Birthday, national holiday, also widely known as "Presidents’ Day", is celebrated each year on the third Monday in February.
The United States Congress in 1879 declared it a federal holiday to honor one of the most important figures in American history, the first American President, the man known as "The Father of his Country”, George Washington. The holiday was originally observed on the actual anniversary date of Washington’s birth, on February 22. But In 1971, the holiday was shifted from this date to the third Monday in February according to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The shift away from February 22 made many people think that the new celebration date was intended to commemorate both Washington and Abraham Lincoln ( whose birthday was on the 12 of February), as it fell now between their two birthdays. Many states supported the idea of joining the two days as a way to recognize equally two of American most outstanding statesmen. So they started observing Washington’s Birthday as the holiday, honoring more than one American president. The term ”Presidents’ Day” appeared in states’ calendars. Some states decided to celebrate other presidents such as John F. Kennedy, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge (honored in Massachusetts), Thomas Jefferson (commemorated in Alabama). In fact, President’s Day now is viewed by many as the day to honor all American presidents, past and present, the office of the Presidency in general. Though the official name of the Federal holiday is still the Washington’s Birthday, almost half of the state governments have officially renamed their Washington’s Birthday observances as "Presidents’ Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", George Washington/Thomas Jefferson Birthday or other such designations.
For example, Presidents’ Day is known as: Lincoln/Washington/Presidents’ Day in Arizona; George Washington/Thomas Jefferson Birthday in Alabama; George Washington’s Birthday in Arkansas & Virginia; Washington’s Birthday in Florida & Wisconsin.
Despite the changing the holiday’s name, most states still pay much attention to commemorate Washington’s accomplishments and his important role in the American nation founding. In his native town Alexandria, Virginia a month-long Washington tribute is hosted on the Washington’s Birthday, the longest running parade is held. There is the George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Washington’s portrait is one of the four American leaders’ portraits carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. The capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and three big universities are named after George Washington. His image one can see on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. A long-standing tradition to read George Washington’s Farewell Address in observance of his birthday is still being practiced annually.
As the Washington’s Day is a traditional time for patriotic celebration, it is viewed by various patriotic and historical groups as an opportunity to stage reenactments and other events, some townships provide events that teach residents about the importance of Washington’s contributions to the formation of the United States. Teachers at public schools organize lessons about the presidents of the United States, paying particular attention to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Washington’s Birthday, as well as Veterans Day and Memorial Day , offers another opportunity to honor the country’s veterans.
In 2023 Washington’s Birthday ("Presidents’ Day") in USA falls on February 20.