Until the mid-1970s, the February 22 birthday of George Washington, hero of the Revolutionary War and first president of the United States, was a national holiday. In addition, the February 12 birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the president during the Civil War (1861-1865), was a holiday in most states.
In the 1970s, Congress declared that in order to honor all past presidents of the United States, a single holiday, to be called President’s Day, would be observed on the third Monday in February. In many states, however, the holiday continues to be known as George Washington’s birthday.
Abridged from US State Department IIP publications and other US government materials.