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How Do We Celebrate Grandparents Day?

People honor their grandparents in many different ways. Many give gifts, send cards or flowers. Many schools have Grandparents Day so the children can invite their grandparents to their schools where they participate in special lessons or special assembly programs. Sometimes there is story-telling activities that relate to their grandparents, as well as art or poster competitions where children often use a story about their grandparents in their artwork.
Hallmark and other card companies are now doing a brisk business for Grandparents Day and its getting better each year. Latest report was over four million greeting cards being purchased within the United States each year on National Grandparents Day. Of course, e-cards are now the card du jour of many tech-savvy grandkids to send to their tech-savvy grandparents. If you are a long-distance grandparent, you may be getting a special Skype call from the grandkids.
Just like other holidays, Grandparents Day is an opportunity for people to appreciate and express their love for one another.

History of Grandparents Day
National Grandparents Day has been reported to have more than one origin. Some people consider it to have been first proposed by Michael Goldgar in the 1970s after he visited his aunt in an Atlanta nursing home, He spent $11,000 of his own money in lobbying efforts to have the day officially recognized, he made 17 trips to Washington DC over a seven-year span to meet with legislators.
Others consider Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, a housewife in West Virginia, to have been the main driver for the day of observance. Throughout the 1970s McQuade worked hard to educate the people about the important contributions senior citizens made and the contributions that they would be willing to make if asked. She also urged people to adopt a grandparent, not for one day a year and not for material giving, but for a lifetime of experience.
In any event National Grandparents Day was finally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Marian McQuade received a phone call from the White House to advise her of this event. Many people believe that National Grandparents Day was inspired by her efforts. A presidential proclamation on September 6, 1979, made this day official – it designated Sunday, September 9, 1979, (being the “first Sunday of September following Labor Day”) as National Grandparents Day.
Each year the President is requested to issue a proclamation to: designate the first Sunday in September after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day; and to call on people, groups and organizations to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Grandparents Day Around the World

Canada started celebrating grandparents’ day in 1995. A bill was passed in the ‘House of Commons’ that suggested that a specific day should be observed to honor all grandparents. The day is observed to acknowledge the importance of grandparents in the society. The second Sunday in September of each year is celebrated as ‘national grandparents’ day’.

Grandparents’ day was officially first celebrated in Queensland on the first Sunday in November 2010.

France started celebrating grandparents’ day way back in 1987. The day is observed on the first Sunday in March every year.

Grandparents’ day was celebrated for the first time in 2010 in Estonia on the second Sunday in September.

United States Of America
The United States of America celebrates national grandparents’ day on the first Sunday after Labor Day in September.

United Kingdom
The UK observed grandparents day for the first time in the year 1990. The celebration was introduced for the very first time by the charity ‘Age Concern’. The day is celebrated on first Sunday in October each year.

In Poland, grandparents’ day is celebrated separately as grandmothers’ day and grandfathers’ day. Grandmothers’ day is celebrated on January 21, while grandfathers’ day is celebrated one day later on January 22. The celebration was first introduced in the year 1964 by a popular magazine and gained its importance in 1965.

Italy celebrates its grandparents’ day on October 2. The celebration was first introduced in 2005 and since then the day is observed throughout Italy.

If you too have been planning to let your grandparents know how much you care, love and adore them, then grandparents’ day is the best time to express your heartfelt emotions. Arrange a grand party and make your grandparents feel super special on this very out of the ordinary day!

Grandparents Day Trivia

  • The forget-me-not was adopted as the official flower for grandparent’s day by the ‘National Grandparents Council’ on April 20, 1999.
  • “A song for grandma and grandpa” by Johnny Prill is considered to be the official song for grandparent’s day.
  • September was chosen as the month to celebrate grandparent’s day as a token of celebration as grandparents are in their autumn years. Although in America today the average age of a first time grandparent is only 47.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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