Monday, February 15, 2021: Presidents’ Day (U.S.)
Though this day is commonly called Presidents’ Day, the federal holiday is still called “Washington’s Birthday,” contrary to popular belief. It is one of eleven permanent holidays established by Congress.
George Washington’s actual birthday is February 22, but we observe federal holidays on Mondays (in this case, the third Monday of February).
To complicate matters, Washington was actually born on February 11 in 1731 because the country switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar during his lifetime (something most of Europe had done in 1582). As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. By the time Washington became president in 1789, he celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his year of birth as 1732.
Upon entering office, Washington was not convinced that he was the right man for the job. He wrote, “My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit, who is going to the place of his execution.” Fortunately for the young country, he was wrong. You can read more about Washington at www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents