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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

When Is a Birthday Not a Birthday?

It’s a great day for sales, but Presidents’ Day still seems to confuse many. Are we celebrating George Washington's birthday, Abraham Lincoln's, both or all presidents’?

Prior to 1968 when the Uniform Holidays Act was passed, Washington’s birthday was celebrated as a holiday on February 22 (even though he was born on February 11 on the Julian calendar used in 1732 when he was born). Abraham Lincoln’s was commemorated on February 12.

The 1968 law created a Monday holiday, Presidents’ Day, to occur the third Monday in February. While Washington’s birthday was officially moved to the third Monday in February, there is no evidence that Lincoln’s was ever declared a federal holiday, so it’s still celebrated separately by some states.

Interestingly, one goal of the Uniform Holidays Act was to create more three-day weekends for federal employees. What do you think about that?

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