Presidents Day is observed as a federal holiday in America. The day, also known as ‘Washington’s Birthday’, is observed in honor of America’s first president George Washington. The holiday is used to reflect on America’s first president’s life and work in the office. People remember and cherish the values imparted to them by Washington.
Another reason why February is chosen as the month of celebrating this day is that it is also the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln’s birth month. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. The report states that today, many calendars list the third Monday of February as Presidents’ Day.
Historically, Americans began celebrating George Washington’s Birthday just months after his death. This was long before Congress declared it as a federal holiday. However, 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. Today, George Washington’s Birthday is one of the only eleven permanent holidays established by Congress.
One of the great traditions that have continued for decades has been the reading of George Washington’s Farewell Address—which remains an annual event for the Senate to this day. It is important to note that Washington’s birthday falls on February 22. He was born when Julian calendar was still in use.
One of the most important things in Washington’s Farewell Address is his relinquishing of the Presidency after a second term and the peaceful transition of power to his successor.
“The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. ”
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796: https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=15&page=transcript