Rumor: Officially, there is no 'Presidents Day'

A celebration of American presidents, or a chance to get rock-bottom prices on a used Chevy.

CONFIRMED: 'Presidents Day' is not an official federal holiday

Americans enjoying a holiday on Monday can thank President George Washington for the privilege. They can’t, however, thank Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson or any of the other U.S. presidents. That’s because "Presidents Day" isn’t actually a holiday, no matter what the nation's various used-car dealerships, furniture stores and mattress outlets say. The third Monday in February is noted as “Washington’s Birthday” and is a celebration of Washington and Washington only.

Lincoln snubbed

As the Christian Science Monitor, CNN and Daily Mail note, Washington's birthday of Feb. 22 was moved to the third Monday in February in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Later, an unofficial attempt to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s Feb. 12 birthday was made and some institutions began referring to the holiday as "Presidents Day." Still, the effort never materialized into official policy.

According to law

The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management spells out the precise U.S. law on holidays. In the agency’s official list of holidays, Washington's Birthday is the only date that includes an asterisk next to it. Explaining the notation, the OPM writes: "This holiday is designated as "Washington’s Birthday" in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law."

Car Savings Day

Perhaps the folks celebrating "Presidents Day" the most are the nation’s car dealerships, which, as Yahoo reports, have used to the holiday to promote savings for decades and typically see sales boom throughout the day. One car dealer in Massachusetts tells the Telegram that he expects to sell 50 cars on the holiday and that, so far, customers are "buying everything."

 

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