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Grandparents Day Fun Facts

Grandparents Day was the brainchild of Marian McQuade of Fayette County, W.Va., who hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage of their grandparents.

The first presidential proclamation was issued in 1978, and one has been issued each year since then designating the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Today, the forget-me-not is the official flower of Grandparents Day, and "A Song for Grandma and Grandpa" written in 2004 by composer Johnny Prill has become the day's official anthem.

Grandparents Day worldwide

While Poland has been celebrating Grandparents Day since the 1960's, other countries have more recently followed America's lead in establishing their own special days for honoring their nations' grandparents as well.

Australia - last Sunday in October
Canada - second Sunday in September
Estonia - second Sunday in September
France - first Sunday in March
Italy - October 2
Poland - January 21
Taiwan - last Sunday in August
UK - first Sunday in October

Grandparents Day in Taiwan
"Temporary grandkids" volunteer
to help seniors in Taiwan's rail
stations on Grandparents Day.

The "granddaddy" of all grandparent celebrations belongs to Poland where Grandmothers Day (January 21) and Grandfathers Day (January 22) have been celebrated since 1965. More countries have followed the US lead since 1978 to establish ways for honoring grandparents, as well:

• Every year on the first Sunday in March, French grandmothers are celebrated with special menus in restaurants and are given deep sales discounts in stores and shops almost everywhere.

• The last Sunday in August is the special day to honor grandparents in Taiwan, where designated "temporary grandkids" volunteer in train stations to help seniors with luggage. Restaurants also offer discounted menus for grandparents if they are accompanied by their grandchildren.

• As recently as 2005, Grandparents Day or La Festa dei Nonni was proclaimed throughout Italy.

• Popular names for grandparents around the world? In the US, it's grandma and grandpa. In Latin America and Spain it's abuela and abuelo. In Germany, oma and opa are traditional names for a grandmother and grandfather. In Italy, they are affectionately named nonna and nonno.

Grandparents Day in the US

black american kids with grandparentsThe average age of a U.S. grandparent is 48, and more than half are baby boomers.

According to US Census data, one in three adults will be a grandparent in the year 2020.

Economic conditions have also cast some American grandparents as a main economic support and roles as primary caregivers for their families :

• 7 million - Number of grandparents who live with any of their grandchildren under 18. Most of these grandparents (4.5 million) maintain their own household.

• 2.7 million - Number of grandparents responsible for most of the basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren they live with. These grandparents represent 43 percent of all grandparents who live with their grandchildren. Of these caregivers, 1.5 million are grandmothers and 900,000, grandfathers.

• 1.7 million - Number of grandparents who are in the labor force and simultaneously responsible for most of the basic needs of their grandchildren.

How to celebrate Grandparents Day

While Grandparents Day e-cards and flowers are traditional ways to honor grandparents, you can also show them the love by actively celebrating with a personal visit, or by sending grandparent gifts geared to their special interests they'll really appreciate.

Although lovers of all things hip and cool, kids usually love sharing a "blast from the past" with their grandparents in humorous and delightful ways. Grandparents, in turn, can actively participate by creating a scrapbook or online photo tour of their lives, or by planning a family road trip to show kids where grandma and grandpa grew up (in the Stone Age, of course!)

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