Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents’ Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in the USA. The day honours not only the life and work of the first US president George Washington, but also all the other past and present presidents – including Joe Biden. In 2021, Presidents’ Day is going to be celebrated on February 15.

  The holiday was first celebrated in recognition1 of George Washington in the District of Columbia in 1880; that’s also why it is still officially called Washington’s Birthday by the federal government. At the time of Washington’s death in 1799, he was already venerated2 as the most important figure in American history. Events such as the 1832 centennial3 of his birth as well as the start of the Washington Monument construction in D.C. in 1848 were already causes for huge national celebration. Afterwards, the conclusion to establish a state holiday in order to commemorate Washington’s achievements appeared to be logical.

  After its official federal establishment in 1885, the holiday was traditionally observed on February 22 (which is the actual day of Washington’s birth). However, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day only in 1971. At that time it was moved from February 22 to the third Monday in February in an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. And how is Presidents’ Day celebrated nowadays? In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. Around the holiday time, some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess4. Presidents’ Day is also a popular day for stores to start their sales. Moreover, community celebrations in many cities and towns often display a lengthy heritage. Washington’s hometown of historic Alexandria in Virginia hosts a monthlong tribute, including the longest running George Washington Birthday parade.

Martina Bednáriková

Vocabulary:1 uznanie – uznání; 2 uctievaný – uctívaný; 3 storočný – stoletý; 4/rises/ prázdniny