February 18th, 2013
10:02 AM ET

Uncle Sam says it's not Presidents Day

If you're off school or work Monday in observance of Presidents Day, you've got it all wrong, at least according to the federal government.

Federal offices are closed Monday because it's Washington's Birthday, a holiday to honor the first U.S. president, George Washington.

Confused? Here's what the National Archives says on its website:

"This holiday is designated as 'Washington's Birthday.' Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is Federal policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law."

Washington's actual birthday was February 22, and that's when the holiday was originally celebrated. However, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act , which designated the third Monday in February as Washington's Birthday, beginning in 1971.

The Presidents Day moniker evolved later, at least partly to honor Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was February 12, but some hoped it could be a day to honor all presidents.

Of course, states, local governments and businesses are not bound to honor the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, so they can call Monday whatever holiday they like or not have one at all.

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Filed under: Holidays
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. joey

    that reminds me. i have to brush my teeth

    February 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |

    President’s day, by today standards I believe, is where macdaddy PBO saw his shadow, and we will have four more years of bullcrap.

    February 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lifesabeachobx

    Would you expect anything less from the federal government...

    February 18, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. volsocal

    Just more Obama Administration delusional policy. He thinks there should be a holiday just for him.

    February 19, 2013 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Willie Claburn

    Happy Presidents Day!!


    February 18, 2014 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
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