This “floating Monday” holiday, which falls on the third Monday of February, is officially known as Washington’s Birthday. However, as Washington’s Birthday (February 22) and Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12) fall close to each other, these two days were combined into one holiday colloquially known as ‘Presidents Day.’
What’s the Official Name of the Holiday?
Is it Presidents Day (a day for many Presidents), President’s Day (a day for a single President) or Presidents’ Day (a day for two specific Presidents)? Frankly, I am not sure there is a standard as there is no consensus. Even when seeing President’s Day sales flyers, we can see many different spellings of this term. Each of the three Presidents Day images in this blog are from various sale ads, for instance. (And, for that reason, purposefully, in this blog, I have not chosen one particular spelling.)
What’s for sale on Presidents Day?
The late night shows all joke that this time of the year is a best time to get a new mattress, home appliance or bed (mattress), which doesn’t seem far from the truth seeing the ads on TV or online. Other sales include good deals on winter clothing as the season is coming to an end (and in some stores swimwear, such as bikinis are seen). But, actually it seems almost anything is up for grabs as a sale item. Stores of all categories have sales just to be able to jump on the sales bandwagon.
So, What is Celebrated On Presidents Day?
School children may have special lessons on Washington or Lincoln around this time of the year. Some younger students may also learn about American money and coins to correlate which Presidents are on which kinds of money. If Presidents Day is seen as a day to celebrate any or all Presidents, then lessons may focus on the great deeds of any President.
Adults really don’t celebrate Presidents Day in my experience. I am also not familiar with community parades, flag hoisting or any other public celebration or commemoration (however, if your area of the US does hold a public gathering, do let us know in the comments below).
Is it a Day Off Work (or School)?
While President’s Day (officially known as Washington’s Birthday) is a Federal Holiday, so government offices, schools and post offices have the day off, most office-going people do have to go to work. Additionally, many schools end up having the whole week off. This week may be known as ‘mid-winter break.’
How do people celebrate Presidents Day?
If you’d like to know about what people do on Presidents Day or during the week of Presidents Day, read this post.
What is open or closed on Presidents Day?
Though we know schools are closed, government offices are closed and most banks are closed, it is up to the discretion of each business or entity to remain open, have abbreviated hours or close. In some areas public services like buses or garbage pick up may be halted. Watch your local NBC, CBS or NBC channel to know more about your local area, to see updates like in this video from KHON, a FOX affiliate in Hawai’i.
Is Mid-Winter Break the Same as Spring Break?
No. These two weeks off are very different. While mid-winter break is typically for schools (Kindergarten through 12th grade), Spring Break is both for school and college students. Spring break tends to fall anytime between late February and mid April depending on the academic calendar and area of the country. A majority of spring break week-long holidays tend to fall during Easter time.
Small Talk for Presidents Day
There really is no greeting or wish for this day. As far as small talk at work, people may talk about:
Note, both talking about children and cost of things are two sensitive small talk topics in the U.S. office. Typically, these topics may be bought up indirectly until we get to know a person.
When is Presidents Day:
2017: Monday, February 20
2018: Monday, February 19
2019: Monday, February 18
2020: Monday, February 17
2021: Monday, February 15
When is Mid-Winter Break:
2017: Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24
2018: Monday, February 19 – Friday, February 23
2019: Monday, February 18 – Friday, February 22
2020: Monday, February 17 – Friday, February 21
2021: Monday, February 15 – Friday, February 19
What are Other February Holidays in the U.S.?
Super Bowl Sunday – First Sunday (date changes)
Groundhog Day – February 2nd
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
Mardi Gras – February 28th (date changes yearly)
Note: It’s still pretty cold throughout the US during February, as we can see this snow storm being reported from Ohio.
Photos in this post taken by Jennifer Kumar.