Every third Monday in February, Americans celebrate President´s Day - also known as Washington´s Birthday. But what exactly is the origin of this US holiday and what are the customs? We have collected the most important facts about President's Day for you.
George Washington is one of the founding fathers of the USA. Not only did he fight for the independence of the New World as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, he was also the first President of the United States of America, which he led for two terms from 1789 to 1797.
As the first president of this new nation, his ideals and political decisions had a decisive influence on the future development of the United States. George Washington thus laid the foundation for the United States of America to eventually grow into today's world power.
To this day, Americans honor George Washington's life and service to the United States in many ways:
On February 22, 1880, George Washingtons birthday was officially celebrated for the first time in the District of Columbia and was announced a public holiday in 1885.
It was not until 1971 that the American government decided to celebrate Washington's birthday on every third Monday in February as President's Day. In this way, the life and service of the 16th President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was February 12, was honored as well.
The holiday is known as President's Day and even many Americans would be surprised to hear that the official name is still Washington's Birthday. They tried to rename this day President's Day, but it failed in Congress.
In Virginia, George Washington's former place of residence, President's Day is celebrated throughout February with numerous events that attract thousands of Americans each year. The highlight is a big birthday parade in the old town of Alexandria with festive floats, music groups and horse-drawn carriages.
School and youth groups will also recreate important events from George Washington's time, giving visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves completely in the life of the 18th century.
The Mount Vernon estate on the Potomac River is also a very popular destination in February - especially for tourists. George Washington and his wife Martha lived here for 40 years and you still get a very good impression of what life was like back in those days.
Although President's Day is an official holiday, each state decides for itself whether or not the children have to go to school. So it happens that on this third Monday in February some schools are open, although in most cases there are no regular classes, but small events are organised in honour of the president.
The holiday has also become very important for the shopping centers. Until the 80s most shops were closed, but today there are many attractive offers and the holiday has become a popular occasion for big discounts.
Several weeks before the holiday, businesses are already starting to advertise their President's Day offers. After all the Christmas offers in December, this is the first important sales day in the new year besides the Valentine's Day promotions.