Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Happy Birthday, General Washington!
Ask any school child (at least, those who understand the difference between President's Day and presidents' birthdays) and you'll be told Washington was born on February 22nd. Not true. He was actually born on February 11th.
During the Renaissance, astronomers throughout Europe discovered that the Julian calendar being used was inaccurate. Pope Gregory was finally persuaded to made adjustments, and most nations switched to the new Gregorian calendar in the 1500s. England did not.
By 1752, not only did this discrepancy make England and its colonies look hopelessly backward, it created havoc with trade relations, so King George II brought his country up to date by eliminating 11 days from the calendar. September 2, 1752 was followed by September 14, 1752. Many Britains objected to this, and in fact, it became THE major issue for the elections of 1754, with the Tory slogan "Give Back Our 11 Days!"
So, although Washington observed his 30th birthday on February 11, 1752, he would have observed his 31st birthday on February 22, 1753.
This year, Colonial Revelers will celebrate the General's birthday, along with Valley Forge National Historical Park, on President's Day. Bring your family to join us for revelry, fun activities, and free cake.
When: Monday, Februrary 20, 2012
10 am to 1 pm
Where: Valley Forge Welcome Center
Route 23, Valley Forge, PA