GW Wreath Laying Ceremony at George Washington's Tomb

GW President Steven Knapp and guests commemorate the anniversary of George Washington's birthday with an annual wreath-laying ceremony at his tomb on the Mount Vernon Estate.

Celebrate GW

Celebrate George Washington #CelebrateGW

Celebrate the 284th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday with a series of celebrations that recognize his legacy of leadership. All university events are free and open to GW students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. Please join us to honor, rejoice, and learn more about our namesake.

 

charter day

February 9: Celebrate the university’s 195th birthday by wearing your #ColonialsColors, sending a #CelebrateGW message, testing your GW knowledge and taking a selfie with George Washington himself!

birthday bonfire

February 18: Join students, faculty, staff, alumni, and neighbors at the annual George Washington’s Birthday Bonfire.

women's gymnastics

February 19: Cheer on the GW women’s gymnastics team with North Carolina, New Hampshire, William & Mary.

women's basketball

February 20: Cheer on the GW women’s basketball team’s home game against Virginia Commonwealth University.

pre-game tailgate

February 21: Pre-game tailgate before the GW men’s basketball game.

men's basketball

February 21: Cheer on the GW men’s basketball team’s home game against La Salle University.

return to mount vernon

February 22: Join students at the 5th annual journey to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, Virginia on his actual birthday. Visit includes transportation and admission.

annual george washington lecture

February 22: Learn about the presidential title controversy of 1821 at the 5th annual Washington Lecture with Kathleen Bartaloni-Tuazon, Ph.D. ’10.

world bashes

Throughout February: Not in Washington, D.C.? Attend #GWBirthday celebrations around the world.

walking with washington

Throughout February: Take a free walking tour of George Washington’s hometown, Alexandria, Virginia.

Show Your GW Spirit on Social Media!

photo with sample social media filter

Download a social media profile filter to show your pride and celebrate GW! Once you've downloaded your filter, you can overlay it on your 1,000 pixel-by-1,000 pixel profile photo using Pixlr.

George Washington Behind the Scenes

The George Washington University’s Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection features objects relating to our nation’s first President and university namesake.

Washington’s Birthday or President’s Day?

The holiday is popularly known as President’s Day but it is officially recognized as “Washington’s Birthday” through a Congressional bill passed in 1879.  Regrettably, the recognition will never fall on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22.  The Monday Holiday Law, passed in 1968, creates 3-day weekends for federal holidays and moved Washington’s Birthday to the third Monday in February.

History of federally recognizing Washington’s Birthday

U.S. Code Title 5, section 6103, officially naming the holiday “Washington’s Birthday”

Congressional Celebration of Washington’s Birthday

The first Congressional recognition of Washington’s Birthday, February 22, was in 1862, when Secretary of the Senate, John W. Forney, read George Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States. In celebration of the centennial year of the Constitution’s ratification in 1888, the Senate’s presiding officer again read the Address on February 22.

The annual tradition of the Senate observing Washington’s Birthday began in 1896 and has continued every year since.  A senator, chosen by the governing body and from alternate parties each year, reads the 7,641-word statement while the Congress is in session.  At the conclusion of each reading, the senator inscribes his or her name in a black, leather-bound book maintained by the Secretary of the Senate.