Presidents Day

Every third Monday in the month of February is the celebration of George Washington's birthday. It's often combined with Abraham Lincoln's birthday on the 12th of February. The range of date in of this holiday is due to the Calendar Act in England in 1750 which put England and her colonies on the same start date of the year as the rest of the western world-January 1st. Since George Washington was born in 1732, his date of birth was moved back 11 days in concordance with the new calendar system.

Washington's birthday was made a federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1879 and was known as such until the mid 1980s where advertisers began to push sales known as 'Presidents Day Sales.' In fact a proposal to change the official title to keep Washington's Day was ratified in 1968, making the Presidents Day title unofficial.

Besides appliance and clothing sales there are American traditions associated with this holiday. Every year since 1862, George Washington's Farewell Address has been read in Congress. Anyone who is familiar with the musical Hamilton will recognize these following passages:

"Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers"