Today is President’s Day… or is it Presidents’ Day… Presidents Day… Or Washington’s Birthday as the Office of Personnel Management notes on its federal calendar.
All those names are used.
With no official name, it’s hard to know how or what to call the holiday and it’s a grammar nightmare. The apostrophe is everywhere.
Sometimes there’s none, i.e. Presidents Day. Sometimes the apostrophe is placed between the last two letters as in President’s Day. Sometimes it’s after the last letter Presidents’ Day.
Then President is used as plural or singular.
To most people, the day is when banks and federal employees have a holiday and retail stores run sales.
Back in my day, we celebrated two presidential birthdays in February on their actual birthdays –George Washington on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 16.
The 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed all that with the creation of three-day weekends and designated the third Monday of February to honor all presidents, past and present. That blurred the day’s meaning from the original purpose.
You’ll also notice Presidents’ Day never falls on either Washington or Lincoln’s birthdates or any of the other four presidents’ February birthdates—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.
Strange holiday, I say.
Whatever you call the holiday and however you choose to write it, enjoy the day.
Maybe do a little reading. Check out my author page for some excellent book choices.