Presidents’ Day

What Presidents’ Day is all about.
A book containing the history of our presidents.
A book containing the history of our presidents.
Photography, Madisyn Ahne

I’m sure you’re wondering, what is Presidents’ Day? What exactly are we celebrating? After doing some light interviewing, it’s been discovered that many students of HHS don’t know much about Presidents Day or why we celebrate it.


As it turns out, Presidents’ Day was not always called Presidents’ Day, and in some places, it’s still not! This year it is celebrated on the 19th of February but initially, it was established in 1879 in the District of Columbia to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on the 22nd. George Washington was a founding father, our first president, and an important military officer. It was expanded past that to the whole country in 1885.


Since then, some changes have been made such as its name and purpose in some locations. The largest change was the date, which used to be the 22nd, but due to the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act (which was created to make more three-day weekends for workers), it was changed to the third Monday of February. This change caused some different meanings to fall upon the holiday, despite it still being legally called Washington’s birthday. For instance, here in Illinois we call it presidents’ day and celebrate both Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays since the date falls between their birthdays. 


In other parts of the country, they celebrate other American chief executives, but overall it is typically a day of remembrance for all the powerful American leaders. 


You might also be asking why this affects high school students, specifically HHS students. The most important answer to this question is that we get a day off of school, but other than that we can enjoy the Presidents’ Day sales happening all over and take the opportunity to learn about our favorite presidents and other American leaders.

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