Presidents Day 2022: What is it, how did it start and is it a federal holiday?

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Presidents Day is an annual American holiday that began in honour of the first president of the United States, George Washington.

Every year, on the third Monday in February, US citizens enjoy a three-day weekend to mark the federal holiday.

How did it start?

The tradition began in honour of President Washington, the country’s first leader whose birthday falls on 22 February.

It became a national holiday in 1968, when the US Congress passed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

The day is also understood to celebrate Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, who was born on 16 February.

Although it is commonly referred to as Presidents Day, the federal government still recognises it as “Washington’s Birthday”.

Read more: 2023 Federal Holidays: Full List

How is it marked?

Carnivals and parades usually take place across the country, although celebrations have been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic in recent years.

It is also traditionally a big shopping day, as Americans hit the sales that take place over the holiday weekend – although schools, banks and government agencies tend to be closed.

Despite its direct link to Washington and association with Lincoln, the day is popularly viewed as an opportunity to celebrate all US presidents past and present.