5 Facts You Didn’t Know About President’s Day

Presidents_Day_rushmore flag

Today is Presidents? Day! And while many of you are enjoying a 3-day weekend, plenty of states and businesses don?t recognize this as a non-working holiday. The history of this holiday has always been a bit confusing, but here are a few fun facts to keep you entertained this Presidents? Day Monday.

1) Officially Called ?George Washington?s Birthday??

The very first Presidents? Day was purely a recognition of George Washington and took place on his birthday, February 22nd, 1885, which was 86 years after his death. Some states celebrated Washington?s birthday on the 22nd and Lincoln?s birthday on February 12th. It the 1950?s there was a movement to choose one day between the two birthdays to commemorate both, and to this date, the Federal Government still recognizes the holiday as ?Washington?s Birthday,? while most states and individuals commonly call it ?Presidents? Day.?

2) Lincoln?s Birthday Ignored

While many states and businesses still celebrate Lincoln?s Birthday, nothing about Lincoln is officially commemorated by any holiday according to the Federal Government.

3) Traditional Cherry Dishes

Many people still celebrate Presidents? Day by eating cherries in various forms, including cobblers, pies, cakes, and breads. This comes from the old legend regarding Washington?s honesty about chopping down a cherry tree. You can find tons of recipes on line for Washington?s Cherry Cobbler or the Cherry Chocolate Lincoln Log.

4) The Reading of the 1796 Farewell Address

To this day, there is a traditional annual reading of President Washington?s 1796 Farewell Address in the Senate. This tradition began as a way to boost morale during the Civil War on Washington?s Birthday in 1862. The first person to read the address was the Secretary of the Senate, John W. Forney.

5) Major Sales

In the 1980?s, retailers began using the three-day Presidents? Day weekend to clear out old winter stock. To this day, you can see major sales across various retail outlets as they attempt to do a little ?spring cleaning? of their own. It?s nothing like Black Friday, but you can often find much better deals on apparel during this February sale than at any other time of the year.

Image Source: CCSU Library