Happy Presidents Day!
I hope that many of you are enjoying a day off home from work, relaxing in honor of.... who exactly?
I always associated Presidents Day with Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday, but this year I also thought I may include our recently elected president, Barack Obama, in my thoughts. But who are we really supposed to be celebrating? I wasn't sure, so I went to wikipedia to find out who exactly this national holiday is really observed in honor of.
"Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. It is also commonly known as Presidents Day (or Presidents' Day). As Washington's Birthday or Presidents Day, it is also the official name of a concurrent state holiday celebrated on the same day in a number of states.
By the mid-1980s, with a push from advertisers, the term "Presidents' Day" began its public appearance. The theme has expanded the focus of the holiday to honor another President born in February, Abraham Lincoln, and often other Presidents of the United States. Although Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a federal holiday, approximately a dozen state governments have officially renamed their Washington's Birthday observances as "Presidents Day", "Washington and Lincoln Day", or other such designations.
However, "Presidents Day" is not always an all-inclusive term. In Massachusetts, while the state officially celebrates "Washington's Birthday," state law also prescribes that the governor issue an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring the presidents that have come from Massachusetts: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy. (Coolidge, the only one born outside of Massachusetts, spent his entire political career before the vice presidency there. George H. W. Bush, on the other hand, was born in Massachusetts, but has spent most of his life elsewhere.) Alabama uniquely observes the day as "Washington and Jefferson Day", even though Jefferson's birthday was in April. In New Jersey, Connecticut 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 California, Lincoln's Birthday is also a legal state holiday, however, observance is frequently moved to the Monday or Friday occurring closest to February 12. When Lincoln's Birthday is observed on the Friday preceding Washington's Birthday, the resultant four-day weekend is commonly called "Presidents' Day Weekend", particularly by retailers in their sale advertisements. In Washington's home state of Virginia the holiday is legally known as "George Washington Day."
So there you have it, each state kind of picks and chooses which one of our late, great leaders they want to include in the mix and advertisers in the 80's made it a more inclusive day so that it sounds better for sales ;-)
So if you are off today in honor of whomever, go out and pay your respects to whichever presidents you see fit, by doing your part to stimulate the economy at a blow out sale!