President’s Day is a federal holiday that honors the birth and lives of US presidents, especially George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is celebrated every third Monday in February.
President’s Day was originally celebrated in the 1880s when the birthday of George Washington was celebrated as a federal holiday. During the debates on the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill in 1964, a proposal to rename “Washington’s Birthday” to “President’s Day” was discussed to honor the birthdays of both Washington (February 22) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). However, this proposal was initially rejected.
When the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill went into effect in 1971, Washington’s Birthday was moved to every third Monday of February. This change led many to believe that Washington’s Birthday was renamed and intended to honor both Washington and Lincoln as the holiday fell between their two birthdays. Retailers then used this confusion to advertise three-day sales as “President’s Day” bargains. By the 2000s, many states have renamed the holiday President’s Day. However, the federal government still lists the holiday as Washington’s Birthday.
Both Washington and Lincoln are honored in the Federal Reserve banknotes. George Washington was first featured on the 1-dollar bill in 1869. Though the 1-dollar bill has gone through many redesigns, the portrait of George Washington still remains. The current design of the 1-dollar bill features George Washington in front and the Great Seal of the United States at the back.
Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln is often featured on the 5-dollar bill. The first 5-dollar note to feature Lincoln was issued by the Federal Reserve in 1914 and the Federal Reserve Bank in 1915. The current design of the 5-dollar bill was unveiled in 2007 and issued in 2008. It features Abraham Lincoln in front and the Lincoln Memorial at the back.