After the busy holiday season and the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, Presidents Day often offers a joyous three-day weekend as winter drags on.
After Presidents Day, there are no more federal holidays until May, marking a period without any three-day weekends. Many people are unaware of the reasons behind our decision to pick the day we did or the route we traveled to get there, other than the fact that our name is an evident homage to former presidents.
Here is the date of Presidents Day in 2023 as well as some background information on the federal holiday.
When Is Presidents Day 2023?
This year, Presidents Day falls on Monday, February 20. Every year, on the third Monday in February, Presidents Day is observed.
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Uniform Holiday Law in 1968 is partially to blame for the annual variation in Presidents Day’s date. To avoid shutdowns during the middle of the week and add long weekends to the government calendar, the Uniform Holiday Bill required that three holidays, including Presidents Day, fall on Mondays.
What Is Presidents Day?
Presidents Day, which honors the country’s first President, is also known as Washington’s Birthday. But George Washington’s birthday is on February 22, not February 20. Or perhaps February 11th.
On February 11, 1731, George Washington was born during the use of the Julian calendar by Britain and its colonies. This calendar was a byproduct of the Roman republic and fell out of favor in 1582. Till 1752, the British continued to use it. Long before it was made an official holiday in 1879, the nation observed Washington’s birthday as a symbol of respect.
It was observed on the third Monday of February following Johnson’s Uniform Holiday Bill. Around this time, the nation also started observing the holiday to honor Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12.
The law was sponsored by Republican Rep. Robert McClory, which infuriated others who opposed moving up the day we commemorate Washington’s birthday.
“George Washington’s birthday will not change, McClory insisted. “By having it observed on a Monday, we would give George Washington’s Birthday additional significance to many more people.”
Who Gets Presidents Day Off?
Those who work for one of such organizations typically have the day off on federal holidays because the federal government observes them. If a national holiday falls on a weekend, it may also be observed on Monday or Friday.
Federally recognized holidays as of right now are:
- New Year’s Day: January 1
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Third Monday in January
- Washington’s Birthday, or Presidents Day: 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 and Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Second Monday in October
- Veteran’s Day: November 11
- Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas Day: December 25
Do Federal Holidays Exist For Presidents’ Day?
The only one of the eleven current permanent federal holidays declared by Congress is George Washington’s Birthday. The reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address during a legislative session by a U.S. senator has been a powerful custom practiced for decades and continues to this day.
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