President’s Day 2011

The first official observation of President’s Day dates back to 1880 and originally commemorated George Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22. Festivities included receptions held by prominent figures and Birthnight Balls, a banquet and dance event that is still held at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia, today.
Abraham Lincoln was a fellow February baby (Feb. 12, 1809) and although his birthday was not honored as a federal holiday, many states adopted it as a legal holiday. In order to create a uniform system of federal holidays, Congress voted in 1968 to shift three existing holidays to Mondays, thereby combining Washington and Lincoln’s birthday celebrations into the third Monday in February.
Today the holiday is still officially known as Washington’s Birthday but many recognize it as a day to honor all who have served as president.

President's Day 2011
Mount Rushmore.

Presidents Day officially falls on the third Monday in February. It was borne out of a combination of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday February 12 and George Washington’s birthday February 22. The federal holiday is officially dubbed ‘Washington’s Birthday,’ but is more commonly known as President’s Day.
Ever wonder how the holiday came to be? Here are some interesting facts and figures about President’s Day.
Washington’s birthday was originally February 11, 1731, by the Julian calendar. When Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar the date was changed to February 22, 1732. Celebrating the birthday America’s first president goes back to when he was still in office.
After Washington’s death in 1799, Congress chose to honor our first president in many ways. In 1832, Congress adjourned February 22 to observe the centennial of Washington’s birth. In 1862, Washington’s farewell address to the nation was read aloud on the floor of the House and Senate on the day of his birth. The tradition still holds in the U.S. Senate today.
In the late 1870′s, Washington’s Birthday joined New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day as the five observed holidays by banks and by federal employees in Washington, D.C. In 1885, Washington’s birthday was extended to all federal employees.

President’s Day 2011 – What’s Open in Rhode Island?
Businesses love Washington’s Birthday because they see it as a money-making holiday similar to Columbus Day, Veterans Day and Labor Day. President’s Day is also one of the biggest sale days of the year for car dealers, electronics and appliance stores like Best Buy and Sears. Walmart is open on Washington’s Birthday. Supermarkets, liquor stores, and convenience stores are usually open as well.
Washington’s Birthday – What’s Closed in Rhode Island?
Because Washington’s Birthday is a federal holiday, municipal state and government offices in Providence and surrounding towns and cities will be closed for all nonessential employees. All federal offices are closed on President’s Day.
Banks are generally closed, however, kiosks in supermarkets may be open depending on your bank and branch. Bank ATM’s are usually open 24-hours per day, can be used to withdraw money and make simple deposits. Many ATM’s can be found in convenience stores, gas stations and airports.
The US Postal Service is closed on Washington’s Birthday. Post offices are closed, and there is no residential mail delivery on President’s Day 2011. (Express deliveries only). According to, UPS (United Parcel Service), FedEx, and DHL is business as usual and will be delivering packages on the holiday.

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