Presidents' day is right around the corner, which means this is a great time to embrace your inner nerd, put on a stovepipe hat and watch one of the great films about past Presidents of the United States. Some teachers may ask their students to dress up like one of the 43 presidents (While President Obama is technically the 44th President, there have only been 43 as Grover Cleveland was the 22 and 24) and give an oral report. I was quite the convincing James K. Polk in 4th grade. Can you top this Mom and her daughter’s awesome Martin Van Buren costume?
If you didn’t know, Presidents' Day was originally just Washington’s Birthday and commemorated our first President, George Washington. In 1885 it officially became a federal holiday recognized nationwide and as the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen. It was celebrated on February 22nd, Washington’s actual birthday. In the 1960’s the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed that moved Presidents' day to the third Monday in February.
While the holiday is technically called Washington’s Birthday to this day, it is most commonly referred to as Presidents' day now and commemorates not only Washington and Lincoln’s February birthdays, but all of our past Presidents. The name change started in the states, with many officially changing the name in the 1980s and 1990s. By the year 2000, Presidents' day was the most commonly used name.
So what is there to do if you happen to have the day off? If you have the opportunity to travel to the Washington DC area, checkout the George Washington Birthday Parade. It dates back to 1923 and is the largest parade of its kind in the country. If you can’t make it to Washington, DC find out what is going on in your local area or perhaps take in a little shopping. Presidents' day has become a popular time for retailers to run promotions.