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No One Can Agree on How to Celebrate Presidents’ Day

Posted on February 15 2021

No One Can Agree on How to Celebrate Presidents’ Day

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.

A map of who celebrates what on Presidents' Day


Explore all USA maps

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National Geographic USA Classic Map

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