Presidents' Day – everything to know about Washingston's Birthday including stock market closures

But what does Presidents' Day entail and what is its history? Here's everything you need to know.

What is Presidents' Day?

Presidents' Day is a federal holiday in America celebrated on the third Monday in February.

The holiday commemorates the birthday of George Washington, the first President of the United States born on February 22, 1732.

The holiday is also used to celebrate other presidents' birthdays, most commonly Abraham Lincoln.

Interestingly, because the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act dictated that the holiday had to fall between February 15 and February 21 each year, Presidents' Day never actually falls on Washington's birthday.

Which businesses and institutions close for the holiday?

Until the late 1980s, most corporate businesses closed on Presidents' Day like they would on Christmas Day.

Now many remain open and run sales and promotions instead, while federal and state government services — including the U.S. Postal Service — do still close.

Public elementary and secondary schools also generally shut, while many colleges and universities run amended timetables.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will be closed with normal trading resuming on Tuesday February 19.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association also recommends that the United States bond market close on Presidents' Day.

What are the traditions associated with Presidents' Day?

Cherry pie is traditionally associated with Presidents' Day based on the apocryphal legend of Washington chopping down his father's cherry tree as a six-year-old child.

The myth states that when Washington's father confronted him about the tree, Washington replied: "I cannot tell a lie… I did cut it with my hatchet."

And the Purple Heart medal, bearing an image of Washington and awarded to those wounded or killed in battle, is given out on Presidents' Day.

Since 1862, the United States Senate hears Washington's Farewell Address read aloud by a member of the Senate on the Senate floor, alternating parties each year.


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