Do you celebrate Washington’s Birthday? Does the Monday holiday yield its intended benefits?
Today is the official holiday celebrating George Washington’s birthday. In most places across the U.S., the day is known as Presidents’ Day to mark the February birthdays of Washington and Lincoln.
Washington’s actual birthday is February 22, but this official holiday (and others) was fixed as the third Monday in February with the passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill in 1968. (Here’s an image of the actual bill, signed by Lyndon Johnson.)
What are the benefits of uniform Monday holidays? Three were noted in the 1968 Congressional Record:
1. “Three-day holidays offer greater opportunities for families—especially those whose members may be widely separated—to get together… .”
2. “The three-day span of leisure time … would allow our citizens greater participation in their hobbies as well as in educational and cultural activities.”
3. “Monday holidays would improve commercial and industrial production by minimizing midweek holiday interruptions of production schedules and reducing employee absenteeism before and after midweek holidays.”
(For these details and more, see historian C. L. Arbelbide’s fascinating account here.)
There’s a commercial side to the bill as well. Many retail businesses play up the holiday in their sales advertisements. Car dealers especially tied sales the holiday (let’s hope it helps this year).
What do you think?
Does the Monday celebration yield any of its intended benefits – for you or for others?
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