President’s Day, formally known as Washington’s Birthday, is a United States federal holiday that celebrate all U.S. presidents (past and present) specifically George Washington (born on February 22), the first President of the United States.
President’s Day dates to the year 1800, following the death of President George Washington in 1799. His birthday on February 22 became a significant day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was recognized as the most important figure in American history.
While Washington’s Birthday was unofficially observed for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1885 that it became a federal holiday for the entire country. The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day began in the late 1960s when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The act was passed in 1968 and officially took effect in 1971. Traditionally President’s Day is viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance about the accomplishments of United States’ presidents, specifically focusing on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.