The 1968 Monday Holiday Bill moved George Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. During the late 1970s and 1980s, however, Presidents' Day emerged spontaneously, replacing Washington's Birthday, and establishing itself in school curricula and business holiday calendars. Because Presidents' Day has no definite content and reflects public preference, a new perspective on holiday commemoration is needed to understand it. Neither the conflict model of holidays, which stresses the manipulation of the masses by elites, nor the commitment model of holidays, which stresses elites and masses sharing the same values, account for Presidents' Day's distinguishing features. Presidents' Day is an instance of abortive commemoration, deliberately designed to combine individual vacations with national holidays. Presidents' Day articulates the de-centering of tradition, waning of affect, confusion, and fragmentation of late twentieth-century American culture
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Toward a Theory of Public Ritual.Amitai Etzioni - 2000 - Sociological Theory 18 (1):44-59.

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