In 1885, President Chester Arthur created a federal holiday to celebrate  this country’s founding father.  The holiday was known as Washington’s Birthday. Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on the actual date of his birthday which is February 22.  The federal holiday honors the accomplishments of the man known as the Father of his Country.  He is celebrated for his leadership in the founding of the nation, he was the electoral College’s unanimous choice to become the first President and he was seen as a unifying force for the new republic .  The holiday is a tribute to the general who created the first military badge of merit now known as the Purple Heart.

In the 1960s, reformers decided that we should change Washington’s Birthday to President’s Day in order to include President Lincoln.  However, the resolution was defeated and the federal holiday known as Washington’s Birthday was never officially changed.  Nevertheless, advertising, calendars and the media name the third Monday in February “President’s Day”.

Many states have expanded the holiday to honor other presidents   who were born or raised in their state.  In Massachusetts, the state officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday” on the same day as the federal holiday.    Furthermore, Massachusetts issues an annual Presidents Day proclamation on May 28 to  (JFKs birthday) honor  the presidents with Massachusetts roots:  Kennedy, John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge.  Locally, Woburn city offices are closed on February 18.

Today, Presidents Day has become well known for being a day for shopping.  Many stores, particularly car dealers and appliance stores  have some of their best sales of the year.   Prior to the 1980s most businesses were closed but today you will find that most stores remain open.  In addition to cars and appliances, it has become a great day to buy a home.  As the temperatures begin to rise and the snow starts to melt, many potential home buyers are eager to test the real estate market in order to find their dream home.

About the Author: Cathy Dyl is a Mortgage Loan Officer at Stoneham Bank with over 20 Years of Experience! (NMLS 49343) Contact her for all your mortgage needs. CDyl@Stonehambank.com

Category: Holidays

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