It may not be as popular as Veganuary, Valentine's Day (or Galentine's Day), Blue Monday, or National Dog Day, but Grandparents' Day or National Grandparent's Day is celebrated in various countries to celebrate the bond between grandparents and grandchildren – whether that's your biological grandparent or just that special older person in your life who has had a significant impact. It is a time to recognise and appreciate the invaluable contributions, wisdom, and love that grandparents bring to our lives. This day holds immense significance as it highlights the unique bond between generations and provides an opportunity to bridge the generation gap. Let's learn all about National Grandparents' Day.
When is grandparents' day and how did it begin?
Like many origin stories, this day has various conflicting beginnings. It was signed into law by US President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Some people believe Marian McQuade, who served on the West Virginia Commission on the Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board, inspired events, and others say that nine-year-old Russell Capper sent a letter to US President Nixon in 1969, asking for a special day to be set aside for grandparents inspired it instead. Either way, it's a fun day to tell the senior people in your life that they inspire you and you love them!
In the US, Congress passed the legislation that Grandparents' day is the first Sunday after Labour Day. This year the day falls on Sunday, the 10th of September 2023. The day is sometimes marked by the official flower of the day which is the forget-me-not, which blooms in the spring. And in modern times, it has even become a tradition to distribute forget-me-not seed packs at funerals and celebrations of lives.
In the UK, the day was introduced by the charity Age Concern in 1990, being celebrated on the first Sunday in October since 2008. This year the day falls on Sunday, the 1st of October 2023.
Pope Francis in 2021 declared the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly to take place annually on the fourth Sunday in July, and around the world in different countries, the date varies.
So, whether you celebrate your grandparents in July, September, or October, it doesn't matter as long as you let the special people in your life know you care!
How do people celebrate grandparents' day?
Like on any holiday, people honour their grandparents through various means such as gifts, cards, visiting their grandparents, taking them out for a meal, or even inviting their grandparents to their school for the day (if the school does that sort of thing). Some schools tell stories that relate to grandparents or provide activities, assemblies, or art or poster competitions.
In the US, it's said that over four million cards are sent on this day. It's also a day that people can appreciate people living in retirement homes or villages or visit an elderly neighbour.