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Washington's Birthday in United States

Quick Facts

Washington's Birthday, or Presidents' Day, honors the life and work of the first president of the United States, George Washington.

Local names

NameLanguage
Washington's BirthdayEnglish
Día del PresidenteSpanish

Alternative name

Presidents' Day
See list of observations below

Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. It originally honored the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Now, other presidents are also honored on this day, which is why it is often known as Presidents' Day.

Please note:The US federal holiday is on the third Monday of February each year, but records show that George Washington's birthday is on February 22.

Presidents´day USA
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. This illustration is based on artwork from ©iStockphoto.com/DaddyBit

What do people do?

Washington's Birthday officially honors the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Some people see it as an opportunity to commemorate all past presidents of the United States. Washington's Birthday is sometimes known as Presidents' Day. This is because while most states have adopted Washington's Birthday, some states officially celebrate Presidents' Day.

Some states pay particular attention to Abraham Lincoln, as his birthday was also in mid-February. In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. It is a popular day for stores to start their sales.

Public life

Many businesses are open as usual and many stores hold sales on Washington's Birthday. Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess. According to some government sources, Indiana observes the Washington's birthday holiday in December.

Background

George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. His first term as president was from 1789 to 1793 and his second term from 1793 to 1797. Before he became president, he played important roles in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington is often seen as the father of the United States and is probably the best known American politician ever.

The likeness and name of George Washington can still be seen in many places in the United States. There is the portrait of him and three other American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. His image is also used on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. The capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and at least three universities are named after him.

Washington's Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. It was made a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington's birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.

This holiday is legally designated as "Washington’s Birthday". Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is the federal government’s policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

Washington's Birthday Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
MonFeb 181980Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 161981Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 151982Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 211983Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 201984Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 181985Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 171986Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 161987Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 151988Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 201989Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 191990Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 181991Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 171992Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 151993Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 211994Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 201995Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 191996Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 171997Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 161998Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 151999Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 212000Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 192001Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 182002Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 172003Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 162004Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 212005Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 202006Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 192007Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 182008Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
FriDec 262008Washington's BirthdayState holidayIN
MonFeb 162009Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
ThuDec 242009Washington's BirthdayState holidayIN
MonFeb 152010Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
ThuDec 232010Washington's BirthdayState holidayIN
MonFeb 212011Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 202012Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 182013Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 172014Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 
MonFeb 162015Washington's BirthdayNational holiday 

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