Today is President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. I know we in the United States celebrate Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays together on President’s Day which is on the 20th this year. I thought it was important to bring attention to one of the presidents that changed the path of America.
**Lincoln’s Birthday is an American holiday observed only by a select few states. The holiday is meant to celebrate the anniversary of the former president’s birthday, February 12th, 1809.
Connecticut, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, and California all choose to celebrate this holiday. New Jersey used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday until it enacted what is called The Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act of 2008. Beginning on the 29th of September, 2008, the holiday in this state was eliminated.
Most states choose to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in combination with other holidays, such as with the celebration of George Washington’s birthday as it also falls in February. In this case, the holiday is often called “Washington’s Birthday” or “Presidents’ Day” and falls on the third Monday of February. This allows it to coincide with the Federal holiday rather than the presidents’ actual birthdays.
The History Behind Lincoln’s Birthday in the United States
Perhaps the first celebration known of Lincoln’s birthday was in 1874 in Buffalo, New York. A druggist, Julius Frances, who was from the city was determined to honor the recently assassinated President for the rest of his life. Although Francis died in 1881, he managed to repeatedly petition to Congress for the establishment of a legal holiday for Lincoln’s birthday.
Over the years, more and more people began celebrating the holiday. A tradition in Hodgenville, Kentucky now includes a ceremony for laying wreaths at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Historic Site in the same town as well as at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is, naturally, a key location for ceremonies on this day.