Celebrated on the 24th of July, Cousins’ Day is a holiday that celebrates those relatives to whom you are related but aren’t as closely related as you are with your siblings. A cousin is a relative with whom a person shares a common ancestor. Describing a person as a first, second, or third cousin indicates just how distant the common ancestor of two people is. First cousins share the same grandparents, second cousins share the same great-grandparents, and third cousins share the same great-great-grandparents. The term “removed” describes how many generations are between cousins. For example, if your first cousin has a child, that child would be your first cousin once removed. If your second cousin has a child, that child would be your second cousin once removed. And it continues from that point on. While some people may not be very close with their cousins, others know their cousins very well and may even have formed strong friendships with them. Regardless of whether you barely know your cousins or are good friends with them, this is still a good holiday to observe. If you’re not familiar with your cousins, this is a good day to take the time to get to know them, and if you are good friends with them, it’s a good day to spend time with them.
The History of Cousins’ Day
No one really knows when this holiday was started. Some theorize that it was started by cousins who decided to rekindle their friendship on that day. Others have theorized that it was started by greeting card companies as a marketing tactic to sell more cards. Regardless of its origin, however, its purpose is still pretty noble. It helps reconnect parts of the family that are most likely to drift apart and never see each other again.
Fun Facts About Cousins
We were digging through the research for this holiday and we came across some fascinating facts about cousins that we think everyone would find interesting. So before we talk about the customs, traditions, and celebrations associated with this holiday, let’s first discuss some trivia about cousins.
There Is Such a Thing as Double Cousins
What some people may not realize is that a person can have double cousins. What’s a double cousin? Well, let us explain. A double cousin is created when two siblings marry two other siblings. For example, let’s say two brothers (Jim and Bob) marry two sisters (Nancy and Jennifer). If both couples have children, then those children are double cousins because they are cousins through their mother’s family and their father’s family. They share the same set of grandparents on both sides.
Twenty-Four States Prohibit Marriage Between Cousins
In the U.S., marriage laws concerning cousins vary from one state to the next. In some states, cousin marriages are legal and in others, they’re a criminal offense. However, even in states where it’s legal to marry one’s cousin, it’s not very common for cousins to marry each other in the U.S.
Twenty-four U.S. states prohibit marriage between first cousins. An additional nineteen U.S. states allow marriages between first cousins, and seven U.S. states allow marriages between first cousins under some circumstances.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Were Third Cousins
The most famous married third cousins in the world were Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. They both were descendants of Queen Victoria. Elizabeth’s father was the son of King George V, King George VI. They are also related through Christian IX of Denmark—this is Elizabeth’s great-great-grandfather and Philip’s great-grandfather. That made them second cousins once removed. Prince Philip died on April 17, 2021.
Nicolas Cage Is Sofia Coppola’s Cousin
Nicolas Cage’s real name is Nicolas Kim Coppola, but he changed his name to Nicolas Cage so it didn’t appear that he was coasting off of the Coppola name. He named himself after Luke Cage from the Marvel universe.
Customs, Traditions, and Celebrations
There aren’t any official public celebrations for Cousins’ Day. In fact, most people don’t even know that there is such a holiday. As a result, people aren’t given the day off and there aren’t any marching bands or parades commemorating this day. However, what people do on this day is call up their cousins on the phone or send them a text wishing them a happy Cousins’ Day. People also take the time to rekindle their relationships with their cousins if they haven’t seen them in a while, or if they don’t have any sort of personal relationship with their cousin, they can use this holiday to begin one. Either way, it’s a great way for distant relatives to reconnect.