In 1968 Congress passed Legislation # 15951 which changed several federal holidays in order for them to fall on a Monday, creating a three day holiday for federal employees and those connected to it. The act took affect in 1971, thus shifting Washington’s Birthday celebration to the third Monday of February.
This month we celebrated the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on the 12th and George Washington on the 22nd. The federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in Washington and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. It was always celebrated on his birthday — February 22nd. On January 1, 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act went into effect, the celebration rarely fell on Washington’s actual birthday. An early draft of this law would have renamed the holiday “Presidents’ Day” to honor the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, but that failed in committee. Advertisers in the mid-1980’s began the push to use the term “Presidents’ Day” and it first appeared in print during this time.