Approximately 80% of the U.S. population grows up with at least one brother or sister. Sibling bonds endure throughout lifelong relationships that shape personalities, plans, and perspectives, and that typically outlast primary relationships with parents.
So if you’re going to celebrate Mother’s Day on May 10, and Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June, why not dedicate a day each year to your brothers and sisters? That thought, coupled with a tragic loss, propelled the initiative that brought Siblings Day—April 10—into existence.
A celebration born out of sadness
New Yorker Claudia Evart grew up in a big, active family, with an older brother and sister, Alan and Lisette, who helped her learn and made certain she felt included. Unfortunately, both her siblings died when Claudia was young.
As a volunteer who celebrates her Estonian heritage through her activities, Claudia felt an increasing sense of the importance of sibling relationships—and a growing awareness of her own loss—as she grew older, leading her to create Siblings Day in 1995 and the non-profit, all-volunteer Siblings Day Foundation in 1997. Along with other initiatives, the foundation advocates for the worldwide adoption of a National Siblings Day that supplements days already set aside to honor other relationships.
Siblings Day across the U.S.
Congress gave up its authority to create commemorative events back in 1996, so only a presidential proclamation can turn Siblings Day into a national public holiday in the United States. Nonetheless, Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all issued Presidential Messages of Recognition during their terms, and the governors of all U.S. states except California have done the equivalent, as have many other elected officials at the city, state, and national levels. The Siblings Day Foundation continues to work toward official national and international recognition of this day of family remembrance.
Hold your siblings close
Claudia Evart created Siblings Day as a celebration of everything that makes these relationships special, from resemblances and attitudes to the closeness of kinship with someone near to your own age. Right now, you may not be able to hug your adult siblings or take them out to dinner, but you can find plenty of ways to commemorate your love for them, from gifts to gift cards—and never underestimate the power of a heart-felt phone call or social-media post that acknowledges how you feel.
Foster sibling connections
If you’re a parent of younger children, encourage them to talk about what their siblings mean to them, and show them pictures of your extended family. Plan to include family activities that highlight the remarkable connections siblings hold with one another, and make April 10 an opportunity to reflect on how they enrich each other’s lives.