International Day of Families

Observed and celebrated by people all over the world, International Day of Families is a holiday that falls on May 15th and has been celebrated every year since 1994. The purpose of this global observance day is to celebrate the importance of families and also to heighten awareness of issues that affect families all over the world.

Each and every year, since 1996, a theme has been chosen by the UN Secretary-General. For example, in 1996, the theme was “Families – The First Victims of Poverty and Homelessness.” In 2007, the theme was “Families and Persons with Disabilities,” and in 2016, the theme was “Families, Healthy Lives, and Sustainable Future.”

History of International Day of Families

On September 20th, 1993, the United Nations General Assembly passed A/RES/47/237 – a resolution that reaffirmed resolution 44/82, which was passed in December of 1989; resolution 46/92, which was passed the following year; and resolution 46/92, which was passed in December of 1991.

These resolutions were passed and reaffirmed to show the UN’s determination to promote social progress and better standards of life for families all over the world. By passing resolution A/RES/47/237, the United Nations created a holiday that celebrated and supported not only families but also cultures all around the globe.

The Symbol of this Day

This holiday is represented by a symbol of a heart that extends upwards and becomes the roof of a house. It is usually drawn in red and can be either used alone or placed in a green circle.

This symbol represents heart and home – the basics of family life. Over the years, this holiday has also inspired many different countries to create their own family days or community-based awareness events that bring attention to issues concerning families.

Celebrating International Day of Families

This holiday is one that is celebrated or acknowledged all over the world in different ways. Some communities may choose to honor the day by having public exhibitions or discussions to discuss ideas that may be directly relevant to that year’s central theme. Other communities may decide to hold education sessions for young people. Public officials may decide to hold policy meetings to discuss the policies that directly impact families.

Some people may even choose to spend the day with their own families. While this holiday is a global observance that is observed by many communities and people all over the globe, it is not a public holiday, which means that government offices will likely remain open, as will postal delivery services and most businesses.


This holiday is perfect for those who wish to spend the day with their own families – either the family they were born into, the family they created, or even their extended family – and it is also the perfect day for those who wish to raise awareness about some of the many issues that may affect many families nowadays.

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 15 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
May 15 Thursday
Last year (2023)
May 15 Monday
Relationships & Family, United Nations