President's Day is an observed federal holiday that will occur this year on February 21, 2011. The date changes every year because the official holiday is always the third Monday of February. Even though this day is no longer celebrated as it once was federal offices and the U.S. Postal Services are closed on this day. Do to the wide commercialization of this day most retailers and businesses are open.
The origins of this holiday began with the celebration of George Washington's birthday. Our nation's first president was born on February 22, 1732, and he died on December 14, 1799. The year following his death, the federal holiday was implemented as an Act of Congress for the government offices in Washington D.C. Five years later, it expanded to include all federal offices. After President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, his birthday became a holiday in some states that was celebrated on February 12th which was his birthday. Since people were taking off from work for both holidays in 1951, a national committee was set up to establish actual President's Day to honor the office of the Presidency. This committee wanted the holiday to fall on March 4th, however, the Senate Judiciary Committee which had authority over the establishment of national holidays and did not agree with this date. Some Governs of certain jurisdictions did however adopt this date as President's Day. Up until 1971, the holiday was celebrated on George Washington's actual birth date. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed some federal holidays so that they fall on a Monday thus giving federal employees a three day weekend. The fact that this day it called President's Day is due to advertiser's use of the day. This is the day that many retailers have sales on what they term as "President's Day." They coined the expression President's Day and used it in their sales pitch after the 1980's.
Interesting to note that because President's Day in not the official name of the federal holiday, it can be spelled with or without an apostrophe. Even though it is spelled this way on government websites, it is still a misspelling. Legislation has been introduced over the years to try and clear up what the official name of the holiday is and they exact day it should be celebrated, however, most measures have failed to pass. In whatever connotation that it is used, it represents the beginning and representation of our governmental system. To honor the birth of the office of the Presidency, George Washington, or all Presidents in general, it is a day that should be remembered.
How can you celebrate this special day? Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Washington, D.C. opens the Thursday before President's Day. This new museum features all 44 President's in a stunning wax display. You can go to the website and check out just how awesome these figures look. The Presidents are not the only figures on display, but they have other political figures and Hollywood stars. Ticket run around $20.00 for adults and they are cheaper for children and senior citizens. If you book them online you save 15%.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
1001 F Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20004-1412
Interesting Facts to Remember these Federal Holidays:
President's Day - Third Monday in February
Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
Columbus Day - Second Monday in October
Martin Luther King Jr. - Third Monday in January