The Library of Congress says that as stated in the introduction, the federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is not officially called Presidents' Day. Instead, it is Washington's Birthday. There was an attempt in 1968 to officially name it Presidents' Day. However, this suggestion died in committee. Many states, however, choose to call their own celebration on this day "Presidents' Day."
We know that with banks closed, no mail service and most government offices closed this day sure feels like a federal holiday. Well, officially it is. Today official holiday is the celebration of Washington’s Birthday and is not called President’s day.
So why do you find that nearly every store is having a President’s Day celebration or sale? Stores are always looking for any reason to have a sale and accuracy isn’t a strong suit when it comes to advertising.
Washington's Birthday was celebrated during his lifetime.
Many across the newly formed United States celebrated Washington's Birthday in the 17th century while George Washington was still alive. However, it wasn't until 1885 that Chester Arthur signed the bill that made it a federal holiday.
Cherries, Cherries, and More Cherries
Traditionally, many celebrated and continue to celebrate Washington's Birthday with desserts made with cherries. Cherry pie, cherry cake, bread made with cherries, or just a huge bowl of cherries are often enjoyed on this day. Of course, this relates to the apocryphal story that Washington would not tell a lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.
Abraham Lincoln's Birthday is not a Federal Holiday
Even though many states celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday concurrently with Washington's birthday, it is not a federally designated holiday.
The Reading of Washington's Farewell Address
On February 22nd of almost every year since 1888, Washington's Farewell Address has been read in the US Senate. While this does not happen on Presidents' Day, it is an annual celebration of Washington's Birthday that stems from 1862 when the Address was read as a way to boost morale during the Civil War.
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