Posted on February 15 2021
Photo by Ronda Darby via Unsplash
Story and Map by Ali Harford
The federal holiday “Presidents’ Day” falls on the third Monday in February. But when it comes to what we’re actually celebrating on that day, each state has a somewhat different idea.
Presidents’ Day started as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday, which was on February 11, 1731. Later, his birthday had changed to February 22 because in 1752 the colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, which rearranged the layout of the year. Americans celebrated Washington’s birthday even before it became a legal holiday in 1879. Then, in 1968, as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, Washington’s birthday was moved to the third Monday in February. The term “Presidents’ Day” became popular in the ‘70s, to include both Washington’s birthday (February 22) and Lincoln’s (February 12).
And then somewhere along the way, everyone got confused and made up their own rules. Below, explore a map of the different ways states officially celebrate on the third Monday of February.