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Lincoln's Birthday

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noun
February 12, a legal holiday in some states of the U.S., in honor of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

MORE ABOUT LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY

What is Lincoln's Birthday?

Lincoln’s Birthday is a U.S. holiday celebrating the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.

The U.S. federal holiday that is popularly known as Presidents’ Day is often thought to include the observance of Lincoln’s Birthday. Presidents’ Day is officially called Washington’s Birthday in honor of the birthday of the first U.S. president, George Washington. The popular use of the name Presidents’ Day for the day is due to it being thought of as a celebration of the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln, as well as a day to observe the contributions of presidents throughout U.S. history.

When is Lincoln's Birthday?

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. His birthday is celebrated on this day, but Presidents’ Day, which is thought to include the observance of Lincoln’s Birthday, takes place every year on the third Monday in February. This means that the specific date changes each year. Before its observance was set for this day, Lincoln’s Birthday was celebrated on February 12.

The observance of Lincoln’s Birthday as part of Presidents’ Day in 2022 is on February 21. Presidents’ Day 2023 will take place on February 20, 2023.

More information and context on Lincoln's Birthday

For a long time in the U.S., Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday were observed separately on their respective dates, February 12 and February 22 (and some people still observe these dates). In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed the observance of Washington’s Birthday (which was already a federal holiday) so that it would always fall on a Monday, resulting in a three-day weekend. This means that Presidents’ Day is always observed between February 15 and February 21—between Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday. Around Presidents’ Day, schoolchildren often learn about presidents—especially Washington and Lincoln—and their role in U.S. history, but the holiday is not commonly marked with any widespread festivities.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Lincoln’s Birthday?

How is Lincoln's Birthday discussed in real life?

In the U.S., Lincoln’s Birthday is typically observed as part of the holiday that’s most commonly called Presidents’ Day. It is not commonly marked with any festivities, though retail businesses are known for having sales during what’s called Presidents’ Day weekend. 

 

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The holiday known as Presidents’ Day is officially called Lincoln’s Birthday.

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