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Presidents' Day in the United States

Washington's Birthday, also known as Presidents' Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. The day honors presidents of the United States, including George Washington, the USA's first president.

George Washington statue in the Boston Public Garden
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America.
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America.
©iStockphoto.com/Jason DiLorenzo

What Do People Do?

Washington's Birthday officially honors the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States. The day commemorates past presidents of the USA. Washington's Birthday is sometimes known as Presidents' Day. This is because while most states have adopted Washington's Birthday, some states officially celebrate Presidents' Day.

Some states pay particular attention to Abraham Lincoln, as his birthday was also in mid-February. In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. It is a popular day for stores to start their sales.

The US federal holiday is on the third Monday of February each year, but records show that George Washington's birthday is on February 22.

Public Life

Many businesses are open as usual and many stores hold sales on Washington's Birthday. Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess. According to some government sources, Indiana observes the Washington's birthday holiday in December.


George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. His first term as president was from 1789 to 1793 and his second term from 1793 to 1797. Before he became president, he played important roles in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington is often seen as the father of the United States and is probably the best known American politician ever.

The likeness and name of George Washington can still be seen in many places in the United States. There is the portrait of him and three other American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. His image is also used on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. The capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and at least three universities are named after him.

Washington's Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. It was made a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington's birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February.

This holiday is legally designated as "Washington’s Birthday". Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is the federal government’s policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

Presidents' Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
MonFeb 152010Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
ThuDec 232010Washington's BirthdayState holidayIndiana
MonFeb 212011Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
FriDec 232011Washington's BirthdayState holidayIndiana
MonFeb 202012Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
MonDec 242012Washington's BirthdayState holidayIndiana
MonFeb 182013Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
TueDec 242013Washington's BirthdayState holidayIndiana
MonFeb 172014Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
FriDec 262014Washington's BirthdayState holidayIndiana
MonFeb 162015Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
ThuDec 242015Washington's BirthdayState holidayGeorgia, Indiana
MonFeb 152016Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
MonFeb 202017Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
MonFeb 192018Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
MonFeb 182019Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 
MonFeb 172020Presidents' DayFederal Holiday 

Quick Facts

Washington's Birthday, or Presidents' Day, honors the life and work of the first president of the United States, George Washington.

Presidents' Day 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents' Day 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018


Name in other languages

Presidents' DayEnglish
Día del PresidenteSpanish
יום הולדתו של וושינגטוןHebrew
يوم الرؤساءArabic
대통령의 날Korean
Tag der PräsidentenGerman

Alternative names

Washington's BirthdayEnglish
יום הנשיאיםHebrew
عيد ميلاد واشنطنArabic
워싱턴 탄생일Korean
Washingtons bursdagNorwegian
Geburtstag von WashingtonGerman

List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in February 2018 in the United States

United Nation Holiday on February 20, 2018

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