What Is the Purpose of Presidents' Day?

Originally established in recognition of George Washington’s birthday, Presidents' Day is commonly treated as a celebration of all United States presidents. The event falls between Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays.

Presidents’ Day was signed into law in 1879, although the law was not expanded to the whole country until 1885. The holiday was formerly celebrated on Feb. 22 of each year. However, as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the holiday is now celebrated on the third Monday in February. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act included a provision to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The change in celebration date, championed by Senator Robert McClory, was to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.