President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities
Happy Presidents' Day. Photo:
Table of Contents

What is Presidents' Day?

Presidents' Day, which honors the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, falls on the third Monday in February (February 19, in 2024). It is observed as a legal holiday in most of the United States.

The United States Code designates this holiday as Washington's Birthday at the federal level, but many states and localities call it Presidents' Day in honor of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is occasionally believed to be in remembrance of all US presidents.

Is Presidents' Day a Public Holiday?

In most US states, Presidents' Day is observed as a public holiday. Nevertheless, on Washington's Birthday, a lot of establishments are open as usual, and a lot of stores have sales. With the exception of the Post Office, many delivery services run on a regular schedule, and most public transportation systems do as well. For a mid-winter break, some schools close for the entire week. Some official sources state that Indiana celebrates Washington's birthday in December.

History of President Day

George Washington's birthday was unofficially observed as Washington Day of remembrance following his death in 1799. People honored the man who shaped America and his legacy on this day throughout the 1800s. George Washington's body was moved and interred in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in 1832 thanks to a resolution, and additional festivities were held across the country in 1848 with the dedication of the Washington Monument.

Steven Wallace Dorsey didn't suggest that Washington's birthday be recognized as a national federal holiday until the late 1870s. It was added to the four already-established bank holidays that had been authorized in 1870 when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law in 1879. It was suggested that Presidents' Day be observed on February 12 to honor both men because of the significance of Lincoln's birthday on February 12 and his legacy, but Congress rejected the idea.

Presidents' Day was not formally established as Washington's Birthday until the late 1960s. In an effort to give employees more three-day weekends, Illinois Senator Robert McClory devised the Uniform Monday's Act, which moved important bank holidays to Mondays. It was hoped that it would lower employee absenteeism and raise productivity. Not surprisingly, the private sector and the labor union both supported this idea.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1971 by an executive order signed by Richard M. Nixon, moving the dates of Veterans' Day, Columbus Day, Memorial Day, and Washington's Birthday to Mondays. Given that the date falls between the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln. Presidents' Day originated from this idea, which also benefited retailers at the same time by allowing them to promote their exclusive sales events. Presidents' Day became widely recognized by the middle of the 1980s and is still observed today.

Who is George Washington

The first president of the United States of America was George Washington. He served as president twice, from 1789 to 1793 for the first term and from 1793 to 1797 for the second. He served in the military for a long time before becoming president, helping the American Continental Army defeat the British in 1783. Washington is perhaps the most well-known American politician of all time and is frequently referred to as the founding father of the country.

There are still numerous locations in the US that bear George Washington's name and likeness. He and three other American presidents have portraits etched into the South Dakota Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The quarter-dollar coin and the dollar bill both feature his likeness. Washington State, the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., and at least three universities bear his name.

Presidents' Day Celebrations and Traditions

President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities

Presidents' Day is customarily observed as a moment of celebration and remembrance for our country, much like Independence Day. Originally known as Washington's Birthday, the celebration took on particular significance during the Great Depression, when George Washington portraits frequently appeared on the front pages of publications on February 22.

George Washington first established the Purple Heart military decoration in 1932 to honor troops who had died or been injured while serving in the armed forces. The Boy Scouts of America and patriotic organizations also celebrated the day, and in 1938, about 5,000 people attended mass in honor of Washington at Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

Many patriotic and historical groups use Presidents' Day, in its modern incarnation, as a date for celebrations, reenactments, and other events. A lot of states also mandate that public schools teach students about the presidents' accomplishments in the days preceding Presidents' Day, frequently emphasizing the lives of Washington and Lincoln.

President's Day Dishes

President's Day cherry recipes are available! Here are some of our favorite cherry-themed recipes to honor George Washington's birthday. They look lovely on the plate and are simple to prepare.

President’s Birthday Cherry Pie

President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities

A good old fashioned Cherry Pie. One looks says it all. This one is gluten-free but it can easily be made in a gluten version too.

Cherry Bounce

President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities

A delicious homemade liqueur dating back to George Washington; cherries, bourbon, and sugar, mixed and left to the side for up to three months. Boulderlocavore reported that it’s worth the wait!

Cherry Cream Pie

President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities

Easy to make and wonderfully versatile. Try it with any type of fruit pie filling or with fresh or frozen fruit – strawberries or raspberries, for instance – over the cream cheese base.

Presidents' Day Recommended Activities

If you don't know what to do on Presidents' Day this year, you can try some suggested activitiesbelow!

Take a Historical Journey

You and your family can spend a lot of time visiting historical sites and taking tours to learn about the history of the presidency. The obvious destination is Washington, D.C., but if you're not from Virginia and don't want to travel, find out about your local government and the influences that past presidents have had on your area. There are records and artifacts at your local history museum that are bound to provide insight.

Know Your Presidents

Use this opportunity to study the lives and careers of the presidents who aren't as well-known. Though everyone is familiar with the names Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, are Martin Van Buren and John Tyler? Even though their impact may not be as great as that of the greats, their tenure in office is significant on its own and contributes to the legacy overall.

Make It a Game

Since we tend to take our past for granted, why not make a quiz that you can take home with you? Form groups and jot down inquiries concerning the presidents and the office of the presidency. Everyone will learn about American history from it, and as a bonus, you will be able to outsmart everyone with your historical expertise.

Presidents Days Quotes

President Day (Washington Birthday): Significance, Dishes, Quotes and Activities
Photo: Pinterest

Here are a few presidential quotes in honor of Presidents’ Day:

“The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.” – George Washington

“I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” – James Madison

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S. Truman

“Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” – John Quincy Adams

“The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.” – John F. Kennedy

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.” – Jimmy Carter

Presidents Days Around the World

Country Holiday Occasion Date
Kazakhstan First President Day Observes the election of Kazakhstan’s first president after gaining independence. December 1
Palau Presidents Day A day to honor the president and the presidency in general. June 1
Botswana Presidents Day A one-day public holiday for remembering the Presidents of the country July 19
Tajikistan Presidents Day The country started celebrating this day recently from 2016 onwards. November 16

When is President Day in 2024?

Presidents Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday of February - February 19 this year. All the presidents in American history are remembered and honored for their exemplary work in making America the great country it is today.

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