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October27–November 1

Grandparents Week – October 27-November 1, 2023

National Grandparents Week is celebrated from October 27 to November 1 every year in New Zealand. The day was established by the Worlds of Wellington Trust to recognize and appreciate the years of dedication and support that grandparents provide to their families. The week exists to remind people to slow down and appreciate individuals who dedicate their time, effort, energy, and love to taking care of their families, often without even getting thanks in return. The week is conventionally spent with grandchildren appreciating their grandparents with words, hugs, flowers, and cards, among others.

History of Grandparents Week

While having grandparents is a fairly common phenomenon today, this wasn’t always the case. It was only recently, in the course of human history, that people have lived long enough to be grandparents for a considerable amount of time. Grandparents first became common around 30,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence found in Europe. This rise in life expectancy is often attributed as the reason for an “explosion of new tool types and art forms” in Europe, and also the reason why modern humans outlived others in the homo genus, like the Neanderthals. What is not certain, however, is what caused this hike in longevity.

The use of the prefix ‘grand’ can be dated back to the beginning of the 13th century. It is derived from the Anglo-French ‘graund’ and Latin ‘magnus.’ Grandparents are referred to as many variations of the words ‘grandmother’ and ‘grandfather.’ In English, they can be referred to as grandpa/ grandma, gramps/ granny, or nan/ pop. In many other parts of the world, there are different names for paternal and maternal grandparents. For example, in much of South Asia, a person’s maternal grandparents are referred to as ‘nana’ (grandfather) and ‘nani’ (grandmother), whilst paternal grandparents are referred to as ‘dada’ (grandfather) and ‘dadi’ (grandmother).

Grandparents have played varying roles in childcare throughout history and across cultures. Today, it is common to see grandparents helping their children by babysitting.

Grandparents Week timeline

30,000 Years Ago
Grandparents Emerge

Live expectancy rises, making grandparenthood possible.

13th Century

The ‘grand’ in grandparents emerges due to linguistic development.

February 6, 1840
New Zealand is Born

New Zealand becomes a nation.

Grandparents Week

The first Grandparents Week is celebrated in New Zealand.

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