With the arrival of February, it’s time to brush up on everything you know about President’s Day!
— Or is it George Washington’s birthday?
— Perhaps it’s Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays combined?
— My Google Calendar calls it Presidents’ Day, but the national archives record it as George Washington’s Birthday only.
What exactly are we celebrating here?
Feeling a bit confused? You aren’t the only one. I remember a teacher explaining that President’s Day is a holiday to celebrate both Washington and Lincoln since this holiday falls in the middle between both of their birthdays.
It seems reasonable, right? But is that true?
Here’s a little video to help explain why so many of us are feeling a little confused about this misunderstood February holiday.
Why Do We Call it President’s Day?
Don’t get me wrong, celebrating both Washington and Lincoln, or other presidents, is not a bad thing.
But one must wonder, what is it about this man that led people to celebrate his birthday across the nation for almost 100 years before it was established as a national holiday?
Perhaps on President’s Day, or shall we call it George Washington’s Birthday, we should take a little time to learn more about this man who led our country through a rebellion and led our nation through it’s first steps.
Learn More About George Washington
We know that George Washington is famous for being honest when he chopped down his father’s cherry tree, and for crossing the Delaware River in the middle of the night. You may also know that Washington and his troops spent a very harsh winter at Valley Forge, he and his army found great victory at Yorktown. Washington also helped write the U.S. Constitution (as President of the Constitutional Convention,) and he was unanimously elected our very first President of the United States of America.
One common thread that you’ll find throughout all the stories of Washington and his deeds is that he had many qualities that make a man a great leader: honesty, commitment, courage, and wisdom. Take a quick peek at this short video about George Washington’s life to see a little bit about he grew into the leader that we so admire.
To learn more about George Washington, his life, and his presidency, look no further than your local library.
Many books for many age levels have been written about our first president. Some texts that you might look for include:
- A Picture Book of George Washington
- Who Was George Washington?
- George Washington’s Teeth
- George Washington (National Geographic Children’s Books)
- Meet George Washington
- George Washington, Spymaster: How the Americans Outspied the British and Won the Revolutionary War
- Washington: A Life
- or this DVD set, George Washington Mini-Series
Want to Study More Presidents?
Hey, if you want to learn about more than just George Washington, then go right ahead! After all, we have many key figures in our history worthy of study.
- Learn more about several of our presidents and the history of the holiday with this President’s Day Lapbook from Sallie Borrink.
- Prepare for a President’s Day Unit Study with these resources from Classic Housewife.
- Teach Beside Me has a round-up of President’s Day Learning Fun, as well as a set of Presidents Trading Cards
- Check out these President Worksheets from Schooling a Monkey.
More Ways to Celebrate President’s Day
In addition to reading and learning about George Washington and the other presidents, there are other ways you could get involved this year.
Find out what events might be going on in your local community. In particular, check with groups that might hold patriotic ceremonies such as the American Legion or the Boy Scouts. You might find something as elaborate as a re-enactment, or as simple as a flag retiring ceremony.
Another activity you might consider is a virtual tour of the White House or the White House Museum. You can also virtual tour the National Mall or 50 other sites around our nation’s capitol.
Now that you know a little more about the holiday that is commonly known as President’s Day and officially called George Washington’s Birthday, how will you choose to celebrate this February?