Sometimes it's easy to think of holidays like Presidents Day as a second-tier holiday or just another day off for federal and state office workers. But this particular holiday has a long and interesting history. To celebrate Presidents Day 2012, here are five things you probably didn't know about Presidents Day, presented by American InterContinental University.
- Presidents Day originally was known as Washington's Birthday, a holiday created in 1880 to celebrate the birth of America's first president. At first it was celebrated only in the District of Columbia, but later recognition of the holiday expanded to the rest of the states in 1885.
- About 70 years later, the first attempt to create Presidents Day failed in 1951 when an official committee attempted to set March 4th as the date of both inauguration day and Presidents Day. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided that date was too close to both Washington and Lincolns' birthdays, already considered holidays at the time.
- In 1968, yet another bill tried to rename Washington's Birthday as Presidents Day. The proposed date would fall between Washington and Lincolns' birthdays, but the final bill that passed once again declared the official holiday as Washington's Birthday.
- Finally, it wasn't until the mid-1980s that the name Presidents Day began to make its official debut. But state or federal lawmakers weren't the ones who made the final push, but rather advertizers who desired a marketable holiday name they could use as an excuse for mid-winter, post-Christmas sales. Many automotive dealers still hold massive sales on Presidents Day, for example.
- Six Canadian provinces have since inacted official holidays on the same weekend as Presidents Day since both countries share close governmental and economic ties. Some of these holidays include Family Day and Islander Day.
Presidents Day doesn't just serve as a day of remembrance for our past, present, and future presidents, but also as a reminder of the influence that advertisers and marketing can have on public interests.
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