Presidents’ Day is a national holiday that honors George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The holiday began as a celebration of Washington alone, and was celebrated on his birthday—February 22—from the 1880s until 1971. While it was never a federal holiday, many states celebrated Lincoln’s birthday as well, on February 12. In 1971, the holiday was moved to the third Monday of February to give workers a three-day weekend, and since then the two presidents’ birthdays have been celebrated on the same day. Officially, though, the holiday is still known as Washington’s Birthday.
Parades are held in some communities to celebrate the holiday. Some people see the day as a reason to learn about the presidents. But Presidents’ Day is also well-known as a day when many businesses hold sales. In fact, it is partially through the advertising of three-day weekend sales that the holiday became known as Presidents’ Day.
- Presidents’ Day: History.com
The website of History.com includes articles, videos, pictures, and facts on key presidents from Washington to Obama.
- American Experience: The Presidents
Explore this PBS site on the U.S. presidents for a good general overview of each.
- Presidents of the United States
Learn about Washington, Lincoln, and all of the U.S. presidents at this site that contains biographies for each; includes a slide show.
- By George, IT IS Washington’s Birthday
Read about the history of Presidents’ Day, how its meaning has changed over time, and the effect that advertisers have had on the holiday.