Here’s all you need to know about US federal holiday

Here’s all you need to know about US federal holiday

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.

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.

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.

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