The 3rd Monday of February is a federal holiday to mark George Washington’s birthday. This day is celebrated in honor of President Washington and his contributions to the USA. However, there are several reasons why this celebration is in a way considered strange. The disagreement about what the actual celebration is during this day is one of the most bizarre reasons.
What Americans can’t Agree on
• There is no universal term for the holiday celebrated on this day. In 1968, there was an attempt to call it President’s Day. Until now, some states refer to this day as President’s Day. However, the official term is Washington’s Day. To make it even more confusing, some states call this day Presidents’ Day. They wish to honor not only Washington, but all other presidents as well.
• The president being honored this day is also not the same in all states. Some states honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln who were born on February 22 and on February 12, respectively. Some states honor both Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but they don’t include Lincoln. In Virginia where Washington came from, the holiday is named George Washington’s Day in honor of Washington alone. In Alabama, they call the holiday “Washington and Jefferson Day” even if Jefferson was born on the 13th of April. In many other states, they honor all presidents.
How the Holiday Started
In 1885, Washington’s birthday which is February 22 became an official government holiday. Eventually, there were movements created in order to move the date on the nearest weekday to a weekend. It could either be a Friday or Monday to create a long weekend for federal employees. In the 1950’s, another proposal was created to make it March 4. This day is the original date for presidential inauguration. However, this proposal did not push through. In 1971, the Congress passed the 3-day weekends for federal employees. This means that some holidays should be permanently moved to Mondays. However, states are not required to follow them. This is the reason why the celebration of Washington’s Day is on every 3rd Monday of February.
Interesting Facts about Washington
Whoever each state decides to honor on the 3rd Monday of February, one thing is for sure, Washington, the country’s first president is a part of it. Thus, it is just right to take a closer look at some interesting facts about this great president.
• Washington dropped out of school at 15 years old to become a surveyor. His mother could not afford to send him to college.
• Washington never had any children of his own even though he was married to Martha Custis, a widow with two children.
• Among his favorite dishes were sweet potatoes with coconut, mushrooms and string beans.
• He loved hound dogs. He also gave them unusual names like True Love and Sweet Lips.
• He stood at 6’ 2’’. He weighed 200 pounds. With these statistics, he was considered as one of the biggest American presidents.
• He suffered toothaches for years. This was the reason why he had his teeth pulled at age 57 and had them replaced by false teeth made from ivory on a silver plate.
• New York and later Philadelphia were considered the country’s capital cities when he was president. He has never lived in the current capital which is named after him.
Strange as it may seem, but this day is nonetheless a day to stop for a while and remember everything that Washington has done to what the US has become today.