Why do we celebrate Presidents Day? The history behind the holiday

WPVI logo
Sunday, February 20, 2022
Why do we celebrate Presidents Day today?
Here's the history behind Presidents Day, officially known as George Washington's Birthday.

You probably know that Presidents Day has its roots in George Washington's birthday, but did you know his birthday was changed during his lifetime? Here's the history behind the holiday.

Despite its common name, the federal holiday is officially called George Washington's Birthday. Washington was born on Feb. 11, 1731, but his birthday changed when British colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar, according to the Center for Legislative Archives.

His new birthday, which was Feb. 22, 1732, was celebrated for many years before becoming a legal holiday in 1879.

The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 made it always occur on Monday to create a three-day weekend and "bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation."

MORE: What's open, closed for Presidents Day 2022