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What is Presidents’ Day and why do we celebrate it?

What is Presidents’ Day and why do we celebrate it?

PRESIDENT'S Day marks the celebration of the birth of America's first president, George Washington.But why do we celebrate Presidents' Day and what is

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PRESIDENT’S Day marks the celebration of the birth of America’s first president, George Washington.

But why do we celebrate Presidents’ Day and what is its history? Here’s everything you need to know.

 An engraving by H B Hall of George Washington - whose birthday is celebrated on Presidents' Day

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An engraving by H B Hall of George Washington – whose birthday is celebrated on Presidents’ DayCredit: Getty Images – Getty

What is Presidents’ Day?

PRESIDENT’s Day, also known as Washington’s Birthday, is an annual federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.

The holiday commemorates the birthday of George Washington, the first President of the United States born on February 22, 1732.

It was celebrated on February 22, Washington’s actual birthday, until 1971, when it was officially changed to the third Monday in February.

It has now become a celebration of the birthdays and lives of all the President’s who have served the United States.

Why do we celebrate Presidents’ Day?

Americans celebrate Presidents’ Day in honour and memory of George Washington.

Although his date of birth is actually February 22, 1732, the commemoration day was moved to the third Monday as a result of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

The hope to gain three-day weekends for federal employees soon turned into a national day of remembrance, which falls between February 15 to 21.

A number of states began to refer to the festivities as President’s Day as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday also falls on February 12, resulting in the nickname being adopted in 1971.

Which businesses and institutions close for the holiday?

Until the late 1980s, most corporate businesses closed on Presidents’ Day like they would on Christmas Day.

Now many remain open and run sales and promotions instead, while federal and state government services — including the U.S. Postal Service — do still close.

Public elementary and secondary schools also generally shut, while many colleges and universities run amended timetables.

Like New Year’s Day, President’s Day is deemed a federal holiday, meaning most banks will close.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq usually close with normal trading resuming the next day.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association also recommends that the United States bond market close on Presidents’ Day.

When is Presidents’ Day 2021?

The holiday falls on the third Monday of February annually.

That means in 2021, it will be celebrated on Monday, February 15.

Interestingly, because the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act dictated that the holiday had to fall between February 15 and February 21 each year, Presidents’ Day never actually falls on Washington’s birthday.

What will happen on Presidents’ Day 2021?

The Purple Heart medal, bearing an image of Washington and awarded to those wounded or killed in battle, is given out on Presidents’ Day.

Since 1862, the United States Senate hears Washington’s Farewell Address read aloud by a member of the Senate on the Senate floor, alternating parties each year.

Usually on Presidents’ Day, a special wreath-laying ceremony typically takes places at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

The country’s largest Presidents’ Day Parade is held annually in Alexandria, Virginia, featuring marching bands and historical re-enactments.

But the 2021 parade has been cancelled, with some accompanying events instead taking place virtually.

Washington’s hometown Alexandria also commemorates the former president with a month-long tribute.


This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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