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. 1608

    Another Mccain/Romney FOOL. If you cant adjust to today's world i feel for you. Grow up please look around you.

    February 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fernace

    I knew that, it says so on my calendar! HipHip Hurray for President Washington, may he rest in Peace!!

    February 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maggie

    It will always be Washington's birthday.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dunkley

    Get real people is it because we have a black president y all this has to come up now ? Y this same didn't come up ten years a go ha ? Can we all just get along & stop all this talk about what is happen now & get to work aite .

    February 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • TJ

      Gee... you said the "black" word and you got posted. I tried the opposite, and it won't allow me to post. Go figure...

      February 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. joshua

    Major earthquake prophecy by harvest army. God bless all.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      @bobcat(iah) Happy dead presidents back to you. I'm staying out of all stores today, not buying things I don't need.

      February 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dazzle ©

    @bobcat(iah) Brilliant my friend.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ergo sum

    Attaboy George, don't let them take your birthday away. Next they will rename this paper the "President's Post".

    February 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ted

    Stupid holiday. Half the office is not here today. I work in the other half as we need to keep the business of our company moving by getting truckers and railroads to move our customer's freight.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • bitter much

      You're just mad that you have to work. If you were one of the lucky ones to have the day off you would be proclaiming what a great holiday this is. Way to bash a day of remembrance for one of the founders this nation.

      February 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Big_D

    Too bad I can't have a life of leisure every day. It is nice to be off and not broke.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kevin3g

    A day to honor ALL presidents! They don't alll deserve to be honored, even if my list of dishonorable presidents (beginning with GW Bush and Richard NIxon) may not be on someone else's list. Only honorable people deserve a day of honor.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ dazzle

    Happy dead president day to you. In honor of our presidents, most stores are holding their annual President Day Sales. What better way to get people to honor our past leaders than by enticing them to spend all those dead presidents on items they don't need.

    February 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThePursuit

      They also dance around cars.

      February 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. us_1776

    Happy Birthday, Washington !


    February 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Luke

    Problem is of course, some people in this country don't realize who the Presidents even were. And by that I mean Subway Restaurants. Sorry, but Benjamin Franklin was not a President. Has anyone else noticed this in their commercials for their "FebruAny" promotion?

    February 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Lake Orion Michigan

    Too bad we don't have a President today!

    February 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • us_1776

      Only the best president in the past 50 years !


      February 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombie kid

      President Obama has been on vacation 78 days from 2009 to 2011. At the three year mark into their first terms, George W. Bush spent 180 days at his ranch in Crawford, Texas and Ronald Reagan spent 112 vacation days at his ranch in California.

      President Obama was on vacation for 26 days during his first year in office (2009). Ronald Reagan spent 42 days on vacation during his first year in office (1981). President George H.W. Bush was on vacation less than his son, 40 days, in 1989, his first year in office. President Obama was on vacation less in his first year in office than the previous three Republican Presidents.

      No President since Reagan was on vacation less than Bill Clinton. Presidents Clinton and Carter vacationed the least of any of the last seven chief executives

      February 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • C. Felix

      The US doesn't have a president?

      Did I miss something?

      Did the CoG totally break down?

      Off to the much more reputable Fox News for clarification on this...You tool.

      February 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ThePursuit

      Take two long walks on a short pier, and call Jesus in the morning.

      February 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kitty Litter

    Wasn't Washington's and Lincoln's birthday combined into President's Day when the MLK, Jr. holiday was added in the '80s?

    February 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
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