Everything you need to know about Presidents’ Day 2021

The United States is on Monday celebrating Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday to honour all US presidents, past and present. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of February and is one of the holidays whose date changes in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. On this day, the US postal services, stock market and most of the banks remain closed.

The holiday was originally established to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, the first president of the United States, who was born on February 22, 1732. It was later moved to the third Monday of February under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 in an attempt to create more three-day weekends for workers.

Washington’s birthday remained an unofficial observance for most of the 19th century until a US senator from the state of Arkansas proposed a federal holiday to celebrate the occasion. In 1879, President Rutherford B Hayes signed the proposal into law to observe the holiday in the District of Columbia which was later expanded to the rest of the country..

It was the first federal holiday to celebrate the life of an individual American because, at that time, the other nationally recognised federal holidays were Christmas, New Year, the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

While the holiday is now viewed as a day to celebrate all American presidents, interestingly, Presidents’ Day never falls on the actual birthday of any president. George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, the four former commanders-in-chief, were born in February but their birthdays are either too early or too late to coincide with the third Monday of the month.

On the occasion of President’s Day, a list of more than 200 members of Indian diaspora holding highest positions worldwide will be unveiled by Indiaspora, a US-based organisation representing the community globally. The list will include top leaders in governments around the world, showcasing the achievements of the community leaders across different sectors.

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