Presidents Day: How the third Monday of February became a federal holiday

It’s Presidents Day and that means a three-day weekend for many workplaces, but do you know what the holiday represents?

While many people assume it’s a celebration of all presidents – it actually came about in the 1800s as a way to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. The first president of the United States was born on Feb. 22.

At first, the holiday only applied to those living in Washington, D.C., but then in 1885 it expanded to the entire country, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

George Washington’s birthday then evolved into Presidents Day in the 1960s when Congress created the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The act’s intent was to give more three-day weekends to the nation’s workforce, according to

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The act had a provision to combine Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays since they’re both in February. Lincoln was born on Feb. 12.

In 1971, the act took effect following an executive order from President Richard Nixon and now falls on the third Monday of February.

The holiday for 2020 falls on Feb. 17 and banks, government agencies, mail and package delivery and schools are closed.

To join in on the holiday, retail spaces offer savings and shoppers can see as much as 70% off on certain items in-store and online.