February is a great month for holidays in the U.S. the most underrated holiday on the calendar ground hog’s day (my birthday!) Valentine’s day and now President’s day. It’s important before we begin to give a little modern historical reference. Until recently, the office of the president was revered in U.S. society. There was always a degree of decorum around it, regardless of where you fell politically you respected the president. That’s changed a lot in my life time, it really started with Bill Clinton and has continued to where we are today. Both parties are responsible for this BTW it’s not exclusive to one ideology.
So that out of the way the genesis of president’s day started in the 1880’s as a celebration of Washington’s birthday. Later it began to encompass Lincoln as well as both were Feb birthdays (Washington 22nd, Lincoln 12th). In U.S. politics these two are arguably the most revered presidents we have. Without delving into the life and times of both, if you know even a little U.S. history you know these two were giants into the forming and evolution of this country.
In 1968 congress decided to change how federal holidays were celebrated. Several were moved to the nearest Monday on the calendar so workers could have a long weekend. Prior, both birthdays were celebrated but only Washington’s was a federal holiday, the state of IL and other states did celebrate Lincolns. So “Presidents Day” was born. Now there were always sales, parades etc. but the consolidation of these two state and federal holidays created a great marketing opportunity for many companies. Presidents day now is associated a lot with deep discounted sales as retailers try and move X-Mas surpluses.
Here is a link to a snap shot of Presidents day https://www.britannica.com/topic/Presidents-Day
I have today off as do banks, post offices etc. Retail is mostly open but that varies by state. This isn’t a highly celebrated holiday in the U.S. Meaning we do not get family together parades are uncommon, etc. It’s really a day off in the middle of winter which is nice. Because it is federal though its nuanced in the sense several ceremonies in DC take place. They are small of course but when federal offices are closed that impacts everyone in the country who wants to use them.
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