National Parents’ Day

Celebrated on the fourth Sunday of every July in the United States, National Parents’ Day is a day for children to honor both of their parents simultaneously. Mother’s Day falls in May and Father’s Day in June, which means National Parents’ Day completes the trilogy of parental holidays and is a day for children to show their appreciation to both parents at once.

History of National Parents’ Day

National Parents’ Day can be traced back to 1994 when then U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton signed into law a resolution that made the fourth Sunday of July Parents’ Day. That bill (36 U.S.C. § 135) was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Trent Lott. According to the resolution, Parents’ Day was created to recognize, uplift, and support the role of parents in the rearing of children.

However, while it was only made a holiday in 1994 in the United States, the roots of this holiday go back further than that. In fact, the original bill that was signed by Bill Clinton was endorsed by the Unification Church – a South Korean Christian church that celebrates National Parents’ Day on May 8th every year. In South Korea, this holiday is both a public one and one observed by the South Korean government.

If you look further back, you’ll see that National Parents’ Day actually began during the early 1930s. That is when many Christian communities began to celebrate Mother’s Day. When Christianity was exported to South Korea, the celebration of Mother’s Day became infused with the culture of traditional Korean Confucianism.

For many years, Mother’s Day was celebrated by individuals in Korea, but it didn’t become a national holiday until 1956. That is when the State Council of South Korea decided that the 8th of May should be celebrated as Mother’s Day every year. For a few years, it continued in this way, but many people questioned why there wasn’t a holiday for fathers.

It was only then that a national holiday dedicated to both parents was proposed. Finally, on March 30th, 1973, May 8th was established as National Parents’ Day according to South Korea’s Presidential Decree 6615. Originally, the entire week of May 8th was celebrated as a way to show respect to the elderly, but that was abolished during the 1990s when October was designated as the month for respecting elders.

National Parents’ Day Customs & Celebrations

In the United States, National Parents’ Day is not a public holiday but only a national observance. This means that all businesses, government agencies, and transit lines will function as normal on this day.

However, on this day, many people take time out of their day to show their parents respect, love, and appreciation. This is done by children throwing parties for their parents, by giving them cards, or other such gifts.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 28 Sunday
Next year (2025)
July 27 Sunday
Last year (2023)
July 23 Sunday