Washington's Birthday

Washington's Birthday
Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg
Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Official nameWashington's Birthday
Also calledPresidents Day
or a variant thereof
Observed byUnited States
TypeFederal (and most U.S. states)
ObservancesCommunity, historical celebrations; honoring the veterans and purple heart recipients; Congressional recognition.
DateThird Monday in February
2017 dateFebruary 20  (2017-02-20)
2018 dateFebruary 19  (2018-02-19)
2019 dateFebruary 18  (2019-02-18)
2020 dateFebruary 17  (2020-02-17)
FrequencyAnnual
Related toLincoln's Birthday

Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732.[1] Since the Uniform Federal Holidays Act of 1971, its observance can occur between February 15 and February 21 inclusive.[2]

Colloquially, the day is also now widely known as Presidents' Day and is often an occasion to honor the incumbent president and all persons who have served as president, not just George Washington.[3][4]

The day is a state holiday in most states, with official names including Washington's Birthday, Presidents' Day, President's Day, and Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday.[3] Depending upon the specific law, the state holiday might officially celebrate Washington alone, Washington and Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12), or some other combination of U.S. presidents (such as Washington and the third president Thomas Jefferson, who was born in April).[3]

Official state holidays

Washington's birthday sign, c. 1890–1899
Flag and bunting mark Washington's Birthday in Toronto, Ontario

Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, nearly half of the state governments have officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents' Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations. (In historical rankings of Presidents of the United States Lincoln and Washington are frequently, but not always, the top two presidents.) However, "Presidents' Day" is not always an all-inclusive term and might refer to only a selection of presidents.

In the following states and possessions, Washington's Birthday is an official state holiday and known as:[5]

Using "president"

  • Presidents' Day in Hawaii,[6] New Mexico, North Dakota,[7] Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Washington[8]
  • President's Day in Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming
  • Presidents Day in Nevada, New Jersey, and Oregon
  • Washington's Birthday/President's Day in Maine
  • Lincoln/Washington/Presidents' Day in Arizona

Washington alone

  • George Washington Day in Virginia
  • Washington's Birthday in Illinois, Iowa,[9] Michigan,[10] Louisiana and New York

Washington and Lincoln

  • Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday in Montana
  • Washington–Lincoln Day in Colorado,[11] Ohio[12]
  • Washington and Lincoln Day in Utah[13]
  • Washington's and Lincoln's Birthday in Minnesota[14]

Washington and another person

  • George Washington/Thomas Jefferson Birthday in Alabama[15]
  • George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day in Arkansas

Unspecified

  • "The third Monday in February" in California, and Lincoln's birthday is explicitly named as a separate holiday.[16][17]

Several states honor presidents with official state holidays that do not fall on the third Monday of February. In Massachusetts, the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday" on the same day as the Federal holiday. State law also directs the governor to issue an annual "Presidents Day" proclamation on May 29 (John F. Kennedy's birthday), honoring the presidents with Massachusetts roots: Kennedy, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Calvin Coolidge.[18] In California,[19] Connecticut, Missouri, and Illinois, while Washington's Birthday is a federal holiday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday is still a state holiday, falling on February 12 regardless of the day of the week.

In New Mexico, Presidents' Day, at least as a state-government paid holiday, is observed on the Friday following Thanksgiving.[20] In Georgia, Presidents' Day, at least as a state-government paid holiday, is observed on Christmas Eve (Observed on the prior Thursday if Christmas falls on Saturday; observed on the prior Friday if Christmas falls on a Sunday. If December 24 is a Wednesday, then this holiday is observed on Friday December 26.)[21] Similarly, in Indiana, Washington's Birthday is observed on Christmas Eve, or the day preceding the weekend if Christmas falls on Saturday or Sunday; while Lincoln's Birthday is the day after Thanksgiving.[22]