We all know that Monday, February 16th was Presidents’ Day and that means that many of us got a day off from work or school. But do you know the history of Presidents’ Day or what it was originally intended to celebrate?
The first official Presidents’ Day was established in 1885. Back then, it was always on February 22nd and was in recognition of President George Washington’s birthday. It was also simply known as Washington’s Birthday.
It wasn’t until 1971 with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that the holiday started to transition towards being called “Presidents’ Day.” The Monday Holiday Act was intended to give our nation’s workers more three-day weekends and also included the holidays of Columbus Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day.
With the transition, many people started to recognize the holiday as a day to celebrate all presidents, but it still mainly focused on Washington and Lincoln, whose birthday falls on February 12th.
By the mid-1980s, most people recognized the third Monday in February as Presidents’ Day as opposed to Washington’s Birthday. This was in large part due to many marketing campaigns that advertised “Presidents’ Day” sales over the long weekend. Just think about how many mattress commercials you’ve seen with this exact advertising.
What did you do to celebrate this Presidents’ Day?