The third Monday of February is a Federal Holiday in the U.S., as such many banks are closed as well as many government offices. This day is officially acknowledged by Washington D.C. as Washington’s Birthday. Even the date of George Washington’s actual birthday depends on which calendar is used (Feb. 11, 1731, according to the Julian calendar, or Feb. 22, 1732 according to Gregorian calendar adopted by Britain and her colonies).
George Washington was the first president of the United States, and is a very important founding father; additionally, many people also recognize Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, as a very critical leader in our nation's history. Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is on February 12, and is celebrated as an official holiday apart from the third Monday in February in some states.
A number of the states that celebrate Washington's Birthday also recognize Lincoln's Birthday as a separate legal holiday. Furthermore, some states choose to celebrate the third Monday in February as Presidents’ Day to commemorate both presidents together.
On this 3rd Monday in February, some celebrate Washington’s Birthday, some celebrate both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays separately, while the majority simply celebrate Presidents’ Day (though even the placement of the possessive apostrophe varies).
Moreover, some states don’t even choose this month to commemorate the Presidents.
- Georgia and Indiana observe Washington’s Birthday on Dec. 24th
- New Mexico observes Washington Birthday the day after Thanksgiving
- 9 states don’t observe any form of the Presidents’ birthdays at all at any time during the year
And, some states use the term “Presidents Day” to commemorate the presidents coming from their own state (ie. May 29th in Massachusetts, which is JFK’s birthday, officially commemorates all of presidents from that state).
Language fun facts about American Presidents:
- At least half of all the American presidents have some proficiency in speaking or writing a language other than English.
- Martin Van Buren’s first language was Dutch. He learned English as a second language.
- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson demonstrated proficiency in multiple foreign languages.
- James A. Garfield knew Ancient Greek and Latin, and used his ambidexterity to write both simultaneously.
- Both Roosevelts spoke French.
- Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke German.
- Herbert Hoover was fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
- Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush displayed some ability in Spanish.
- Bill Clinton had some knowledge of German.
- No contemporary American president has gained proficiency in any foreign language.
- Barack Obama, the 44th President of the US, claims to not speak any foreign language, but others beg to differ…
Happy Presidents' Day to all!
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