It’s not Presidents Day; it’s Washington’s Birthday

By Khushbu Kapadia
Acting Editor in Chief

The federal holiday that occurs every year on the third Monday in February. Officially, the United States government is celebrating Washington’s Birthday. Many locals think that Presidents Day is the official name of the holiday celebrated in America. However, the official name of this holiday is Washington’s Birthday.

“I always thought the official name of the holiday was Presidents Day, which was celebrated to honor all of our presidents,” said Bessie George, a student from Paramus, N.J.

This, in fact, is not the case. The holiday was originally established to celebrate Washington’s birthday. but is commonly known as Presidents Day to include all of the presidents of the U.S.

“This holiday is designated as Washington’s Birthday,” according to archives.gov. “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.”

Along with George, Rhea Nigli, a student at Rutgers University, was under the misconception that Presidents Day was the official name of the holiday. “Ever since I was little, I was taught that the holiday is called Presidents Day,” she said. “Now I know the fact about the holiday, Washington’s Birthday.”

Although some states celebrate Presidents Day as a state holiday, it has never been recognized at the federal level. On the national level, the third Monday of February is the official observance of Washington’s Birthday. Some states celebrate Washington’s Birthday, some celebrate both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, while the majority simply celebrate Presidents Day. Twenty-four states celebrate Presidents Day. According to New Jersey’s code covering legal holidays, the Garden State celebrates Presidents Day.

The holiday was created to commemorate President George Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22; however, it is commonly referred to as Presidents Day as a way to include President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday as well, which is on Feb. 12. Washington’s Birthday was originally celebrated Feb. 22, but in 1968 Congress moved the holiday to the third Monday in February, and this created a lot of debate across the U.S. There was a proposal at one time to change the observance from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents Day in order to celebrate President Lincoln but this has never come to pass.

Renata Mauriz, a student at County College of Morris, knew the correct facts about the holiday. “Even though the holiday is commonly called Presidents Day, I always thought the official name was Washington’s Birthday. It was originally created to celebrate Washington’s birthday. However, people call it Presidents Day to include all of our presidents.”

Whether celebrating Presidents Day, Washington’s Birthday, or Lincoln’s Birthday, it’s a day to honor the accomplishments and sacrifices of those who built our nation

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