Parents’ Day is a holiday that collectively celebrates all the parental figures in a child’s life. It is held annually every fourth Sunday in July. While Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are the traditional mainstream parental holidays, Parents’ Day aims to recognize other parental figures. The holiday has increased in popularity as acceptance of non-traditional marriages and families continue to increase.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day have been slated as “Hallmark holidays” for years now. However, there didn’t used to be a holiday that recognized the roles that two parents can have together to raise children. In the early 1990s, Senator Trent Lott introduced a bill for Parents’ Day, which was also supported by the Unification Church at the time. In 1994, President Bill Clinton officially signed the bill to create the holiday. Since then, it has been celebrated every fourth Sunday in the month of July.
At first, the idea of Parents’ Day was to emphasize the role of traditional parenting by a man and a woman. It was meant to emphasize the importance each parent plays, as well as collectively, in the lives of their children. Soon after its adoption, supporters liked the idea of the holiday because it helped to deemphasize traditional gender roles in parenting. Over the years, as same-sex parenting becomes more common, other supporters have interpreted Parents’ Day as a holiday that celebrates all parents. Furthermore, the holiday can be celebrated by other parental figures in a child’s life, such as foster parents, step parents and grandparents.
Types of Celebrations
While Parents’ Day has been proclaimed inherently different than Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, they are commercially celebrated in similarly. Younger children may make their parents gifts, or buy small presents with the help of the other parent. Older children may buy cards, sweets and flowers. Adults may splurge on higher-ticket items as a way to show their appreciation for their parents.
Some communities also have their own Parents’ Day celebrations. Churches may hold special services and brunches, while community centers often host events and special meals.
Parents’ Day is not considered a national holiday—therefore, many businesses remain open, just as they do on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. However, there are organizations that help to promote Parents’ Day on a national level. Once of these such organizations is the United Civil Rights Councils of America. Many human rights organizations utilize this holiday as a way to increase the awareness of same-sex parental figures.
On the flip side, other national organizations use Parents’ Day as a method of emphasizing religious beliefs in the role of parenting. For example, the National Parents’ Day Coalition states that it is important to have two parents in a child’s life in accordance to their beliefs in the Bible. In addition, the Coalition has an annual “Parents of the Year” awards for outstanding parents in various communities around the country.