Grammar Challenged Holiday

What is the name of the holiday coming up on Monday?

I decided to check the ads and see what they said.

Mattess Firm, Presidents Day Sale, GrammarHere is a Mattress Firm ad that has it as Presidents Day.

Presidents Day, Mattress AdHere is another ad for a Mattress store. Again Presidents Day.

President's Day, Ad, GrammarAshley Homestore has an ad for a President’s Day sale.

rite aid presidents day adRite Aid also wants you to save big for President’s Day.

Macy's Presidents Day saleMacy’s has an ad for a Presidents’ Day sale.

Michaels Presidents Day adMichaels also has a Presidents’ Day sale.

Presidents Day ads, StaplesFor Staples it is a Presidents’ Day savings event.

While watching TV in the last week I have seen commercials for all three of these variations.

President’s Day, President’s Day and Presidents Day.

Which one is correct?

Actually, none of them are correct for the nation as a whole.

According to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968, it is still officially Washington’s Birthday.

Some states have passed additional legislation to rename Washington’s Birthday as Presidents’ Day. The weekend itself is also often known as Presidents’ Day Weekend (apostrophe placement varies).

For someone who takes grammar seriously, this weekend can be grating on the nerves as they see the apostrophe moving all over the place.

Of course, Washington’s Birthday is an easy one to figure out and the apostrophe is not often misplaced. The Birthday belongs to Washington and therefore we use the possessive apostrophe between the n and the s.

President Washington, Washington's Birthday, President's Day - Marx Presidential FigureIf the day was only honoring President Washington, we should use President’s Day.

Presidents Washington and Lincoln - Presidents' Day - Marx Presidential FigurinesIf we mean that the day honors both President Washington and President Lincoln we could use Presidents’ Day as the day belongs to both of them.

However, since Presidents is used as an attributive noun to modify the noun Day, Presidents Day can also been used. In recent years the use of attributive nouns has been increasing and several style manuals now give Presidents Day as the preferred style when used in this sense. It is also more inclusive as this day is often used to honor all presidents.

So,  what day is today?

For me, as I live in California, it is Washington’s Birthday.

I looked through several California Government websites and saw it used different ways. I even saw one website use Presidents’ Day with a footnote referring to Section 6103(a) of the US Code and saying they use the name of the Holiday designated in the law. What is interesting is that Section 6103(a) uses Washington’s Birthday :-).

Which do you think is the correct name to use for today?


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