Presidents’ Day is a colloquial term for Washington’s Birthday, George Washington being the first President of the United States, and it is commemorated by paying tribute to all the Presidents of the United States of America. The day is observed as a federal holiday on the third Monday of the month of February each year.
The day is also a state holiday in most states, but in some states the day is known by Washington’s/ Lincoln’s or Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday, since both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays come in the month of February, and in historical ranking these two presidents of the US rank as the popular most.
Presidents’ Day in the next five years:
- In 2014, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 17.
- In 2015, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 16.
- In 2016, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 15.
- In 2017, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 20.
- In 2018, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 19.
- In 2019, Presidents’ Day is on Monday, February 18.
The first attempt to create a day to honor the Presidents of the country was made in the year 1951. In an attempt to do so, Presidents’ Day National Committee was founded by Harold Stone Bridge Fischer of Compton, California, who then became the National Executive Director of the Committee for the next twenty years. The purpose of the committee was to commemorate the day that would not honor any particular President of the country, but all the Presidents at large. It is a day to pay tribute to the office of the Presidency.
Originally March 4th was designated to be the Presidents’ Day in the Bill that was submitted for passage, March 4th being the original day of inauguration. However this Bill was stalled in the Senate by the Judiciary Committee who had the authority to decide about the federal holidays. The Committee felt that the day in close proximity to both Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday would be unduly burdensome with three holidays in such close succession. However, even during this period, Governors of many of the States had proclaimed in their jurisdiction for March 4th to be Presidents’ Day.
In an early draft of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the day was proposed to be named as Presidents’ Day, and was selected to be a date that falls in between the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln. But this proposal failed in the Committee. On June 18, 1968, the day was voted and passed to be a law where the name Washington’s Birthday remained. By the middle of the 1980s, however, there were push from the advertisers that made the name “Presidents’ Day” appear in public.
Spelling of Presidents’ Day:
Since Presidents’ Day is not an official term that is used to denote the holiday in honor of the Presidents of the country, there is often an ambiguity about the correct spelling to be used in the context. However, the majority of manuals, dictionaries and stylebooks propagate the spelling to be Presidents’ Day in context of the fact that if the word President’s is used it would denote a single President, but the day is commemorated to honor all (multiple) Presidents of the country. At present the term Presidents’ Day has been more or less accepted by all and sundry.
Observances and Traditions:
In a nutshell, this day honors the accomplishments of the men who have shaped the United States to be the way it is today – they are celebrated for their leadership and for being a unifying force for the better future of the country. The country’s veterans are honored on this day. Community celebrations are often organized to uphold the country’s heritage.
Till the 1980s corporate businesses used to remain closed on this day. However after then the retailers have started promoting various sales schemes on this day. Even delivery services operate in full swing on this day except the United States Postal Service. Operation of public transport system varies from place to place – in some places it may be erratic, while at others pretty regular. Many universities and colleges continue with their regular schedule on the Presidents’ Day. Many schools give a week long mid winter recess during this time beginning on this day, depending on the rules of the school district. Tourism also flourishes during this time for it gives people a long weekend break amidst their hectic schedule.
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