We celebrate Presidents’ Day on the third Monday in February. This year it falls on February 20. Many people will have that day off from school and work and many businesses will  have Presidents’ Day sales. However, according to federal law, there is no holiday called Presidents’ Day.How do we have a holiday that is not a holiday? To answer that, let’s list the eleven days that according to federal law are official holidays:New Year’s Day (January 1).Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Third Monday in January). Washington’s Birthday (Third Monday in February).Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19).Independence Day (July 4).Labor Day (First Monday in September).Columbus Day (Second Monday in October).Veterans Day (November 11).Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November).Christmas Day (December 25).Did you notice that the third Monday in February is called Washington’s Birthday, not Presidents’ Day?George Washington, the first president of the United States, was born on February 22, 1732. He was a humble man who wasn’t a big-celebration kind of guy. He spent his birthdays quietly working. But he was so loved and admired in the United States, some people across the country would hold little birthday parties in his honor.After he died in 1799, more people honored him by celebrating his birthday each February 22. Years later, in 1879, Washington’s birthday was made an official federal holiday.There are three questions that people often ask about Washington’s birthday:1. If his birthday is on February 22, why do we celebrate it on the third Monday instead of his actual birthday?If you look at the list of federal holidays, you will see that five of them are celebrated  on Mondays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This law, among other things, would give federal employees more three-day weekends. Before, if Washington’s birthday fell, for example, on a Thursday, that would mean government workers would have Thursday off, then have to come to work on Friday, then have Saturday and Sunday off.After the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Washington’s birthday would always be celebrated on a Monday, meaning workers would always have three days in a row off: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.2. What about Abraham Lincoln—why don’t we celebrate his birthday?Lincoln was born February 12, 1809. He was such a beloved president and did so much for the country, people wanted to celebrate his birthday the way they celebrate Washington’s. The two birthdays are so close together, people began to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday the same day as they celebrated Washington’s. Which leads us to question three:3. Why do people call it Presidents’ Day if that’s not the real name of the holiday?The short answer would be, see question two. (That’s a joke.)In 1951, there was a effort to officially change the name from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day, but it didn’t pass.In the 1980s, businesses and advertisers started having Presidents’ Day sales, making the term more common to the general public.Though the day is officially called Washington’s Birthday, people like to call it Presidents’ Day to honor both Washington and Lincoln. Some people have other favorite presidents they wish to honor. Thomas Jefferson, for example. Some people think the day should honor, not certain presidents, but all presidents or the office of president itself.The federal government can’t tell states which holidays to celebrate and which ones not to celebrate. Each state gets to choose its own holidays. Most states celebrate Washington’s birthday on the same Monday as the federal holiday.  Maine calls the third Monday “Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day.” Arizona goes a step further and calls it “Lincoln/Washington/Presidents’ Day.” Delaware doesn’t celebrate the day at all.There are three ways that Presidents’ Day is written. It has to do with the apostrophe. Some states do it this way:  President’s Day (meaning one president, probably Washington.). Others do it this way: Presidents’ Day (meaning more than one president, such as Washington and Lincoln.) And some leave the apostrophe out, writing it this way: Presidents Day (meaning the office of president or all the presidents.) Each one has a slightly different meaning, but everyone knows what the general idea is.Fun Facts•  In February, the third Monday always falls from 15 to 21. That means it never occurs on Washington’s actual birthday: February 22.•  The city of Laredo, Texas outdoes everyone in celebrating Washington’s birthday. They celebrate for an entire month, with many different events.•  Only two Americans have been honored with federal holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Washington.•  Since 1862 there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington’s Farewell Address is read on his birthday. Each year, the reader is from a different political party, so that Republicans and Democrats take turns. Maine senators who have read the address are William P. Frye, 1896; Charles F. Johnson, 1916; Wallace H. White, Jr., 1941; Margaret Chase Smith, 1949; Edmund S. Muskie, 1964; and Angus S. King, Jr., 2014.•  Washington’s Farewell Address is almost 7,000 words long and takes about 45 minutes to read aloud.

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