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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Birthday Without a Birth

Presidents Day is ostensibly a birthday celebration, which is strange since no President could possibly have celebrated his birthday on the third Monday in February.

George Washington was born either on February 11, 1731 (according to the old-style Julian calendar, still in use at the time), or on February 22, 1732 (according to the Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1752 throughout the British Empire). Under no circumstances, therefore, can Washington’s birthday fall on Washington’s Birthday, a.k.a. Presidents Day, which, being the third Monday of the month, can occur only between the 15th and the 21st. Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th, doesn’t make it through the Presidents Day window, either. Nor do the natal days of our other two February Presidents, William Henry Harrison (born on the 6th) and Ronald Reagan (the 9th). A fine mess! [Link]

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