Depending on where and when you grew up, you've probably heard the same February holiday called both George Washington's Birthday and Presidents Day. So which name is correct? While it may be hotly contested, the third Monday in February is officially called George Washington's Birthday.
The observance of Washington's Birthday goes back to the 1800s. It was initially a day of remembrance for George Washington, the first, and many believe the greatest, president of the United States. The holiday took place each February 22, the actual day of George Washington's birth in 1732. Washington's Birthday became an officially recognized holiday for all federal employees in 1885.
In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed the observance of Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February. About this time, advertisers began promoting the holiday as Presidents Day.
Celebrating Washington's Birthday on a different day than his actual birthday became an opportunity to remember all presidents, not just Washington. Though there are not many traditions associated with the holiday, it remains a patriotic celebration.
There have been many attempts to change the official name of the holiday, but George Washon's Birthday remains the official name. In 2019, we will celebrate Washington's Birthday on Monday, February 18.