President’s Day


President’s Day is a federal holiday celebrated every year in the U.S.A.  It was first celebrated as a day of remembrance for George Washington (America’s first president) on his birthday, February 22nd.  This tradition started in 1880 and has changed in both name and celebration day since then.  


In 1968 it changed to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, which is February 12th, and is now celebrated on the third Monday of February every year.  This holiday changed to being known as Presidents day as a part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which was an attempt to form more three day weekends for American workers.  So as was just just mentioned it seems that the biggest motivations for changing this holiday was to honor more than just one of our amazing presidents, and for more 3 day weekends for American workers.


Usually businesses and schools have all federal holidays off, which includes Presidents day.  This is the basic rule, but it is actually up to the employer and school district if the day is to be taken off (At least this is how it is in Idaho).  As an example, Mt. Harrison High School does not take Martin Luther King Jr. day off even though it is a federal holiday, although other school districts in the area do have the day off of school.  I asked a member of the Minidoka Calendar Committee, and teacher at Mt. Harrison High School, Mr. Heins why we have some federal holidays with school and some without and he said, “There are certain holidays that are paid days off and those are the big 5 that we take off.  Those 5 are Christmas, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor day.  I think that the reason we have Presidents day off, even though it isn’t one of the big 5, is to break apart the calendar and give students and teachers a 3 day weekend to break up the month. This was especially important when we had 5 day weeks, but we have just kept that day off.”