It seems that Presidents day is a sales-based holiday for car and furniture stores. President day is always the third Monday in February. But which president or presidents does it honor, good question. Presidents Day officially honors Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, however their actual birthdays are February 22nd and February 12th respectively.

The Federal Holiday Act of 1971 officially created the observance to honor both presidents. Apparently, all other presidents can suck it, so to say. Bob Mills isn’t selling a sofa in honor of Millard Fillmore after all.

Yet despite the holiday often being referred to as “Presidents’ Day” in practice, the official federal holiday continues to be known as “Washington’s Birthday.” When George Washington himself was alive, people honored the occasion with balls and banquets. The celebration continued after his death as a way to remember what America’s first president did for the Nation.

In 1968 Rep. Robert McClory, representing “the land of Lincoln,” attempted to change the name of the holiday to “Presidents’ Day” in 1968. But that measure proved to be particularly controversial for legislators from Virginia, Washington’s home state. The provision was soon dropped.

McClory did gain the concession of having the holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February, which falls between Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and Washington’s 10 days later. It appeared to many that a federal holiday now existed to celebrate both Washington and Lincoln—as well as America’s other past commanders in chief. The current president is excluded from the Holiday. This interpretation was fueled by the numerous states that adopted “Presidents’ Day” as the holiday’s name, rather than the traditional “Washington’s Birthday.”

So, which ever president you celebrate, enjoy the day off from work and get that great deal on a mattress. Washington and Lincoln would be happy you saved in honor of their service.

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