Celebrated on the fourth Sunday of every July in the United States, Parent’s Day is a day for children to honor both of their parents at the same time. Mother’s Day falls in May and Father’s Day in June, which means Parent’s Day completes the trilogy of parental holidays and is a day for children to show their appreciation to both parents at the same time.
History of Parent’s Day
Parent’s Day can be traced back to 1994 when then U.S. President William Jefferson Clinton signed into a law a resolution that made the fourth Sunday of July Parent’s Day. That bill (36 U.S.C. § 135) was originally introduced in the Senate by Senator Trent Lott. According to the resolution, Parent’s 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 goes 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 Parent’s Day on May 8th every year. In South Korea, this holiday is both a public one as well as one observed by the South Korean government.
If you look further back, you’ll see that Parent’s 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, then this 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 on 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 Parent’s 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.
Parent’s Day Customs & Celebrations
In the United States, Parent’s Day is not a public holiday but only a national observance. Which means that all businesses, government agencies and transit lines will function as normal on this day. However, on this day many people take the time out of their day to show their parent’s respect, love, and appreciation. This is done by children throwing their parents parties, by giving them cards or other such gifts.