Why Do We Refer to today as George Washington's Day instead of President's Day?

An explanation

Clarifying a long-standing question:

  • Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and George Washington (February 22).
  • In 1971 one single federal public holiday was created to be observed on the third Monday of February, honoring all past presidents of the United States of America.
  • Virginia recognizes the third Monday in February as George Washington Day to honor George Washington. Given that George Washington was the most preeminent of the many persons who were instrumental in the formation of these United States, given that George Washington is honored by Virginia law, given that Fairfax County is a political subdivision of Virginia, and given that George Washington was a resident and public official of Fairfax County, the county refers to the third Monday in February as George Washington's Day.

Reference links:

The list of official county holidays labels the day as "George Washington's Day" 

On the county Web site, it lists it the same way

Virginia Code § 2.2-3300 sets forth the legal holidays that are recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and it lists it as "George Washington Day"         

OPM and the federal government use "Washington's Birthday" 

Note: Their information includes this paragraph:
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.


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