Happy Presidents Day ... Um, We Mean George Washington's Birthday


Happy Birthday, George. You dont look a day over 270.

  • Happy Birthday, George. You don't look a day over 270.

So, you think today is Presidents Day? There's really no such thing.

The third Monday of February is commonly known as Presidents Day but even the federal government recognizes no such thing. The official name for the holiday we celebrate today is Washington's Birthday, at least to the Office of Personnel Management, which distributes the official list of holidays for federal workers.

Other institutions, such as local governments and even private businesses may use names like Presidents Day or Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday, but it's not uniform. Some states even celebrate Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's birthdays today, but not Lincoln.

George Washington's Birthday has been a federal holiday since an Act of Congress in 1879 and for the better part of the century, the holiday was always celebrated on Washington's actual birthday, Feb. 22.

But in 1971, then-President Richard Nixon signed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, pushing a number of holidays to Mondays, following an effort by former President Lyndon Johnson, who wanted to encourage more American families to take long weekend vacations.

Yes, there have been efforts to create a national Presidents Day, but they have stalled in Congress in 1951 and again in 1968.

So, Happy Birthday George Washington, even though your real birthday is five days away.