The History Behind National Grandparents Day Is Really Sweet

granddad playing with granddaughter

It seems like everyday is some random holiday now, doesn't it? There are days dedicated to honoring our pets, our favorite foods, and even mythical creatures like unicorns. It's all in good fun, and it certainly isn't required that you honor every single one of these silly little holidays. But some of the random holidays that come up are definitely worth celebrating! We have Mother's Day, and Father's Day, which are "official" holidays.

But on Sunday, September 9, we get to officially celebrate other incredibly important people in our lives with National Grandparents Day! Grandparents play such a vital role in our children's lives, and we are so glad that they get a day all to themselves. You know, it's an actual national holiday, just like those for mamas and papas! So how did National Grandparents Day get started? It's actually a really sweet story, and we have former President Jimmy Carter to thank for the national designation of this lovely day.

National Grandparents Day was actually started by a woman in West Virginia named Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade. McQuade was passionate about spending time with seniors living in nursing homes, and wanted to honor the seniors in our communities, so she petitioned the government for a national day of observance in their honor. It started with statewide campaign, and in 1973, West Virginia governor Arch Moore made Grandparents Day an official state holiday.

grandma and granddaughter
Credit: iStock / Bobex-73

It stayed a West Virginia thing for 5 years, until August 3, 1978, when President Jimmy Carter signed Proclamation 4580, making Grandparents Day an official national holiday. He cited the importance of recognizing and honoring all generations in a family as one of the reasons of making the proclamation. He later went on to make September 9 the official day that we celebrate our nanas and papas, and made it a yearly holiday in 1979.

So now we have National Grandparents Day! We hope you spent the day with your parents and grandparents, and that they got lots of love from their grandchildren. Every generation of a family is so important, and we know how much joy our own grandparents brought to our lives.

Happy National Grandparents Day to all the grans and granddads out there!

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