Monday, February 15, 2016
Presidents Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.
Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.
While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.
Did You Know?
If you think that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and then admitted his wrongdoing by saying to his father, “I can not tell a lie,” think again. He didn’t say it; he didn’t even chop down the tree! Parson Mason Weems (1759–1825), one of Washington’s biographers, made up the story, hoping to demonstrate Washington’s honesty.
This tale is not the only myth about Washington. His wooden dentures? They weren’t made of wood. Instead, they were made of hippopotamus teeth that had been filed down to fit Washington’s mouth.