Happy 281st Birthday, George Washington: 5 Presidents’ Day facts to know
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 23:02
Though USF students don’t have the day off, Presidents’ Day is a day often far-removed for many on campus. But the day carries a substantial amount of history with it.
1.Originally celebrated in recognition of Washington’s Birthday
The holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February, commonly known as Presidents’ Day is not officially President’s Day. The official name of this day is Washington’s Birthday and in 1968 there was a move to legally change the name of the holiday, but it died in committee.
2.Washington’s farewell address readings
Almost every year, on Feb. 22 since 1888 President Washington’s Farewell Address has been read in the United States Senate in celebration of George Washington’s actual date of birth, which was on Feb. 22, 1732.The address touches on topics of geographic sectionalism and foreign interference of domestic affairs. The tradition of reading the president’s farewell address began in 1862 as a way to boost morale of Civil War soldiers.
2.He may not have chopped down the cherry tree, but we can eat the fruit in a pie.
Turkey on Thanksgiving, ham on Christmas and burgers on the Forth of July. Like most holidays, Washington’s birthday — or Presidents’ Day — has it’s own food to celebrate with. Desserts made with cherries, bread with cherries, cherries on their own or even Cherry Coke could be consumed to celebrate the first president. The cherry theme aligns with the questionable tale that Washington would not lie when asked if he cut down a cherry tree.
3. What about Lincoln?
Honest Abe, otherwise known as the 16th President of the U.S., Abraham Lincoln, is also informally grouped in on Presidents’ Day. Lincoln’s birthday was 10 days and some 77 years following the birth of Washington. Over a dozen state governments officially renamed Washington’s Birthday “Presidents’ Day” in observance of Lincoln’s birth.
4.Presidents’ Day sales everywhere
Until the late 1980s, banks and corporate business remained closed on Presidents’ Day. Once the major advertising corporations pushed to rename the holiday, stores and businesses began staying open later and later, eventually using the holiday to push out aging inventory and make room for new spring collections.
5.More three-day weekends for all
In 1971, the holiday was moved to be held strictly on the third Monday of each February as opposed to Washington’s actual birthday. This came to be part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act as an attempt to create more three-day weekends for U.S. workers.