Why we celebrate our presidents

Most of us didn’t have school on Monday, and while I’m always up for a three-day weekend, I never knew why Presidents Day was important when I was a kid. I figured it had something to do with presidents but I couldn’t tell you much more than that.

Presidents Day (originally named Washington’s Birthday) used to be on February 22 because that was George Washington’s birthday. Washington’s Birthday became a federal holiday in the early 1870s, like Christmas or Columbus Day, and a lot of people got the day off from work (and school). Almost 100 years later, in the 1960s, Congress proposed a measure called, “The Uniform Monday Holiday Act.” This act was designed to move several holidays from specific days to Mondays. Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Presidents Day were all moved to Mondays. Memorial Day is the fourth Monday in May, Columbus Day is the second Monday in October and Presidents Day is the third Monday in February.

After the move to the third Monday of every February, Presidents Day was now in between Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, and Washington’s birthday, February 22. Many people took this as a chance to celebrate both presidents. Over time, the holiday has become a time to celebrate all presidents, past and current.