Home > Calendar > Holidays > the United States > National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents Day in the United States

Many families in the United States observe National Grandparents Day on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day. This day honors grandparents.

National Grandparents Day
Forget-me-not flowers not only beautiful but they also symbolize National Grandparents Day in the United States.
Forget-me-not flowers not only beautiful but they also symbolize National Grandparents Day in the United States.
©iStockphoto.com/Igor Rybiy

What Do People Do?

Many people honor their grandparents through a range of activities such as gift-giving, card-giving, and for children to invite their grandparents to school for a day where they participate in special lessons or special assembly programs. Many school students take part in 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.

About four million greeting cards are sent within the United States each year on National Grandparents Day. This day is also an opportunity for people to appreciate and express their love to their grandparents through kind actions such as making a phone call or inviting their grandparents for dinner.  People living in retirement villages or nursing homes may receive a visit from their grandchildren or loved ones on this day.

Public Life

National Grandparents Day is an observance and not a public holiday in the United States.


National Grandparents Day has 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, Spending $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.


The official song of National Grandparents Day is “A Song for Grandma And Grandpa” by Johnny Prill. The official flower for the day is the “forget-me-not” flower.

National Grandparents Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
SunSep 122010National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 112011National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 92012National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 82013National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 72014National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 132015National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 112016National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 102017National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 92018National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 82019National Grandparents DayObservance 
SunSep 132020National Grandparents DayObservance 

Quick Facts

National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day in the United States.

National Grandparents Day 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

National Grandparents Day 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Name in other languages

National Grandparents DayEnglish
Día Nacional de los AbuelosSpanish
היום הלאומי סבא וסבתאHebrew
اليوم الوطني الأجدادArabic
국립 조부모의 날Korean
Nationaler Tag der GroßelternGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in September 2016 in the United States

Fun Holiday on September 11, 2016

You might also like

Perseid Meteor Shower

The 2016 Perseid meteor shower will peak on August 12 and 13. A waxing gibbous Moon will make it harder for observers to watch the meteor shower. more

2016 Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids meteor shower can be seen from December 4-17. In 2016, the shower will reach its maximum around December 13. Find out where, when and how you can see it. more