George Washington’s Birthday Celebration

During George Washington’s lifetime and maybe because he was such a great man, he had two birthdays beginning in the 1750’s. Born under the Julian calendar, George was born on February 11, 1731/32. When the English Parliament decreed in 1750 that two years hence England would switch calendars and adopt the Gregorian, used by the majority of countries/states in Europe, there was a discrepancy. So, 11-days was added (some believe that the old calendar was off by a year and a eleven days thus the slash in “1731/32” above).

Regardless, Washington’s birthday was moved to what we, in the United States, are taught now, that it fell on February 22, 1732. Just don’t tell his mother, who believed to her dying day that he was born on the aforementioned date. And who argues with mothers?

What we cannot argue with is that certain birthdays were celebrated at Gadsby’s Tavern, in Alexandria (a city a young George surveyed and helped lay out), Virginia. On October 6, 1796, John Gadsby leased the City Hotel from John Wise and quickly became the epicenter of social and political discourse in Alexandria.

Today the Gadsby Tavern and Museum is open to the public and run by Historic Alexandria a department within the City of Alexandria. For more information and to plan your visit, a bite to eat, or celebrate a birth night ball like George click here.

The balcony where musicians would sit and play at Gadsby’s Tavern (author’s collection)
The hall at Gadsby’s Tavern, which can still be rented out today for celebrations and ceremonies. (author’s collection)
This entry was posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Civilian, Emerging Revolutionary War, Memory and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to George Washington’s Birthday Celebration

  1. Joe says:

    Actually the reason that the years are different was not that anyone thought that there was a year and 11 day difference but that the official New Year under the old calendar began on March 25 so under the old calendar he was born February 11, 1731.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s