The Town of Westbrook offices & Transfer Station
will be closed on Monday, February 20, 2023.
Presidents’ Day is observed annually on the third Monday in February.
This year, Presidents’ Day will be celebrated on Monday, February 20.
Is This Holiday Called Presidents’ Day or Washington’s Birthday?
Although the holiday is most often referred to as “Presidents’ Day,” the observed federal holiday is officially called “Washington’s Birthday.”
Neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to Presidents’ Day. Additionally, Congress has never declared a national holiday that is binding in all states; each state has the freedom to determine its own legal holidays. This is why there are some calendar discrepancies when it comes to this holiday’s date. Read more from the National Archives.
So why is Washington’s Birthday commonly called Presidents’ Day?
In a sense, calling the holiday Presidents’ Day helps us to reflect on not just the first president, but also the founding of our nation, its values, and what Washington calls in his Farewell Address the “beloved Constitution and union, as received from the Founders.” Additionally, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is in February (on the 12th), so by calling the holiday “Presidents’ Day,” we can include another remarkable president in our celebrations as well.
Today, many calendars list the third Monday of February as Presidents’ Day, just as quite a few U.S. states do, too. Of course, all of the 3-day retail store sales are called “Presidents’ Day” sales and this vernacular has also been influential in how we reference the holiday.
Historically, Americans began celebrating George Washington’s Birthday just months after his death, long before Congress declared it a federal holiday. It was not until 1879, under President Rutherford B. Hayes, that Washington’s Birthday became a legal holiday, to be observed on his birthday, February 22.
Washington’s birthday was celebrated on February 22 until well into the 20th century. In 1968, Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to “provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays.” By creating more 3-day weekends, Congress hoped to “bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation.”
Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.
–George Washington (1732–99)