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Presidents' Day

carvingToday marks the observance of Washington's Birthday ('Presidents' Day') in the US. Washington’s Birthday has been a US holiday since 1886. In the late 1960s, Congress thought it would be a great idea to honour Abe Lincoln by expanding the name to Presidents' Day.

Strangely, Washington's birthday really falls on the Feb 22nd which also marks the Catholic Feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Pope's Day). Where does that leave your separation of Church and State? :)

The special Prayer for the Nation was written and first delivered in 1791 by the great Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore, first American bishop and ally of Washington. (His cousin was the lone Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence).


Can you name all the US Presidents since Washington?


Since the US, esp at the founding, was totally NOT Catholic (other than Maryland), I think that it's just a coincidence.

I cannot name all the US Presidents, and I am from the US since birth. Sigh. I think I know more about the UK monarchy than I do about our Presidents/VPs.

Are you kidding? I'm lucky if I can still remember who was president before Obama!
I'm ok with 20th Century presidents, but before that it's a bit muddled since quite a few of them aren't even talked about in school.

I don't think that Washington was born on a Catholic Feast Day(actually one I had never heard of!) has anything to do with anything but coincidence.
I'm curious from that one comment if you have an issue with the idea of a seperation of church and state (either in general or in the US specifically).
You seem to take throw-aways very seriously
I may. There has been some pull on the US political right wing to complain about the seperation of church and state and that we are some sort of "Christian nation".
I don't think anyone can name all the presidents. It's hard for me just to remember the names of the ones who got shot.
(Where does that leave your separation of Church and State?)


(Can you name all the US Presidents since Washington?)

No, but that's what Wikipedia is for.

Another interesting item about Presidents' day: it is always celebrated on a Monday, regardless of where Washington's or Lincoln's birthday falls in the week. I guess that means we care more about our long weekends than about our past leaders.
Exactly, big business decides a lot of these things.
And having a celebration on a weekend is good for business.
Having them on days that vary from year to year is not good for business.
actually they were both separate holidays, til some bright weasel felt that by combining and shifting the holdays to a monday or a friday it would be easier, the only holidays we have off that are on their actual day are very limited, like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas ... the 3 day weekend is the result.
The two birthdays, Lincoln on the 12th and Washington on the 22nd, were celebrated separately until 1971 when Washington's birthday was officially moved to a Monday under the "Uniform Monday Holiday Act", an act of law passed in 1968. Since Lincoln's birthday came very near to the Monday holiday, it is usually grouped with it as a matter of convenience, but it is not officially one of the established and mandated Monday holidays.

The Act was signed into law to help establish a series of four Monday holidays for federal workers (George Washington's birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day) and was expanded to a fifth day (Martin Luther King's Day) in 1983. Veterans Day was moved back to November 11th in a separate Act in 1975 which became effective in 1978.

I can absolutely guarantee that the establishment of President's Day on the third Monday of February has nothing to do with the fact that George Washington's birthday fell on the Catholic Feast of the Chair of St Peter. It had to do with ease of vacation pay, the ability of federal workers to have a three-day weekend several times a year, and schduling convenience at public institutions such as schools and the postal service.

- Erulisse (one L)
and yes, I can name the Presidents, although not always in strict chronological order.
We don't have a seperation of Church and State. That is a big myth. :o

Sadly, no I can't name the Presidents. :(
How embarrassing is that? It's not like we've had that many. :p
Hugs, Jon
Of course, I can name the presidents. lol And in order but I have to think carefully between Andrew Jackson ( a nasty man) and Franklin Pierce ( incompetent but personally tragic)

Washington was not born on February 22. Britain was still using the Julian calendar.
He never celebrated on that date and proper Washington Societies used to have their celebrations on February 13.
I don't know when the feast was established but it does not share a date with Washington.

An added note - although Maryland was a nominally Catholic colony having been founded by George Calvert and his son, Calvert retired from the court of Elizabeth and converted to catholicism, the catholic church was never established in the colony. Rather acts of toleration were passed making the colony a haven for Quakers and other dissenters. However, after the Glorious Revolution, fearing the revocation of the charter the Church of England was established as the official religion of the colony.

Bishop Carroll was part of an official delegation sent to Canada. The exact date and mission escapes me. I wrote the paper on it a long time ago.
Carroll is still a popular first name for men here in Maryland.
Carrollton, the name of the Carroll family plantation is now the name of a suburb of Washington D C,

Edited at 2014-02-18 05:21 (UTC)
But does Grover Cleveland count once or twice?
I regret putting in that aside about Church and State!!

I am also amazed (should I be?) that no one made reference to the 'Prayer for the Government'. Is it ever said at any Catholic functions nowadays?
Haven't been to a catholic function recently but I don't remember the prayer being used even in my catholic days.

I think Bishop Carroll is hardly remembered. Even in my college days ( long ago lol) it was hard to find information about him when I wrote the paper.