February 12th, 2024
Lincoln’s Birthday is a holiday that commemorates the birth of the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is celebrated in some states in the U.S. as a legal holiday, while in other states this day is combined with the commemoration of President George Washington and celebrated as Presidents’ Day. States in which this holiday is commemorated on its own merits on February 12th include Illinois, Missouri, California, Arizona, Indiana, New York, and Connecticut.
Brief Biography of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809. At the age of 21, he moved to southern Illinois and acquired a job on a river flatboat. He then moved to New Salem, Illinois, and became a shopkeeper and a postman. Eventually, he got involved in politics and was elected to the Illinois State Legislature in 1834. After passing the bar in 1836, he became a lawyer and began work in Springfield. In 1860, he won the election as the 16th President of the United States.
Some of Abraham Lincoln’s accomplishments include leading the Union to victory over the Confederacy during the Civil War, signing the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery into law, the creation of the first income tax, and the implementation of a military draft.
Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, at 10:15 p.m. EST. He succumbed to his wounds the next morning.
History of the Holiday
Lincoln’s Birthday was officially observed for the first time on February 12, 1874, in Buffalo, New York, due to a petition to Congress by Julius Francis, a druggist who wanted to honor the life of Lincoln.
Customs, Traditions, and Observances
In many of the states where Lincoln’s Birthday is celebrated as its own observance, government offices are usually closed, but schools typically remain open. However, in many parts of California, not only are government offices closed but so are many school districts.
Traditionally, wreaths are laid not only at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Kentucky, but also at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.