Happy Birthday, George Washington -- Or Maybe Not?

Happy Birthday, George Washington -- Or Maybe Not?

Published Feb 21, 2022 by Rick Cundiff

Happy Presidents’ Day! The day we used to know as “Washington’s Birthday.”

Notice those quotation marks? They’re up there for several reason. Turns out history sometimes plays tricks on us. And George Washington’s birthday is one of the oddest.

What follows might sound strange, but it’s true.

Washington celebrated his 19th birthday on February 11, 1750. He celebrated his 20th birthday exactly 365 days later – on February 22, 1752.

Wait, what?

It turns out there were some major calendar changes in that intervening year. Stay with us here, this gets a little bit complicated, but it all works out.

It all depends on which calendar you use. For centuries, most of the world relied on the “Julian” calendar, named for Julius Caesar. This was the first calendar to use a 365-and-a-quarter-day year to account for the earth’s revolution around the sun.

Over the centuries, that quarter-day, which resulted in a leap day once every four years, proved to be slightly inaccurate. Enough so that holidays and seasonal changes were 10 full days out of sync with where they should be. Further complicating matters was the fact that many countries considered March 25 as the first day of the new year.

A Pope Has the Solution

In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII created a new calendar that adjusted the timeframe of leap years just a bit. It took the English another 170 years to adopt the new “Gregorian” calendar.

In 1750, Parliament passed an act to bring England and its colonies into compliance with the Gregorian calendar we use today. To do so, it was necessary to remove 11 days from September. And to switch New Year’s Day to January 1, the calendar year of 1751 had to be just nine months long – March 25 to December 31.

And you thought Daylight Saving Time was bad? Still with us? That’s a lot of day shifting and math! The bottom line is that it established Washington’s birthday on what we know today as February 22.

So yay, we can observe his birthday on the actual day, right?

Not quite.

A couple of hundred years later, the United States got into the act. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act, passed in 1971, designates the third Monday of February as Presidents’ Day. The more generic name in most states also honors Abraham Lincoln, who was born February 12, 1809.

The Monday designation means Presidents’ Day will never fall on Washington’s actual birthday, no matter which calendar you choose. It will always fall between February 15 and February 21.

Ultimately, when you choose to celebrate Washington’s doesn’t matter. There’s no question that the Father of our Country deserves recognition for his achievements. And of course, custom patches are one way to do that.

And that brings us to our main point. Times change, events change. There’s no reason why your custom patches can’t change too. Whether you just want to update your logo or emblem or you want a whole new look, you can count on Custom-Patches4Less.com to have exactly what you need. Call or email us today to find out how easy it can be to change your patches, and change your look. We’ll leave it up to you whether you want to change your birthday.