Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

WedNov 20

National Gary Day – November 20, 2024

We celebrate National Gary Day every year on November 20 in honor of all the Garys in our lives. This name has evolved significantly over the years since it was first used. It was first recorded in Gaelic as ‘Mag Fhearadhaigh,’ derived from the term ‘fearadhach,’ which might imply ‘manliness.’ Gary is most likely derived from the Norman French name ‘Geiree,’ which is derived from the Old Frankish name ‘Geiserich,’ which is made up of two elements: ‘*gaizaz’ (spear, pike, javelin) + ‘*rkijaz’ (kingly, royal). In modern times, the name has continued to gain popularity for its affiliation with some celebrities.

History of National Gary Day

While the name Gary has a rich history, it was an uncommon name in the U.S. between the 1900s and 1920s. In the 1910s, the Social Security Administration found that it was number 677 on the popularity list and that less than 0.01% of the babies born in that decade were given the name. About 0.38% of the children born in the 1930s were given the name Gary. The percentage grew to 1.54% in the 1950s, making Gary the twelfth most common given name of that decade.

Perhaps the emerging popularity of this name had something to do with the rise of Gary Cooper as a successful actor. This 20s and 30s screen heartthrob put the name Gary on many people’s lips and perhaps caused many a mother to name her child after him. There are other Garys who also played a part in popularizing the name: Elbert Henry Gary, an American entrepreneur, named the town of Gary, Indiana, after himself. The success of cricketer Gary Sobers (whose first name was really a pet version of Garfield), footballer Gary Lineker (born 1960), and artist Gary Glitter (originally Paul Gadd) helped to keep the name alive.

While most spell Gary with a single ‘r’, it does have a variant spelling of ‘Garry,’ which was probably influenced by the spelling ‘Barry.’ ‘Gaz’ is the pet name for Gary, whereas ‘Gazza’ is a variant. ‘Garrison’ is a given name related to Gary and Garry; the latter is occasionally borne by sons of men with the former names. Gary is also related to the Gaelic ‘Garaidh.’

National Gary Day timeline

Gary Cooper Honored at the Oscars

America’s heartthrob Gary Cooper gets an Academy Honorary Award for his career achievements.

The Golf Hall of Fame

Gary James Player, one of South Africa’s all-time best golfers, is elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The Gamer’s Hall of Fame

Gary Gygaz is inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Origins Award Hall of Fame

The Award for Electronic Music

Gary Numan, a pioneer of electronic music, receives the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award.

National Gary Day FAQs

Where did the name Gary originate?

Gary is a shortened form of an English patronymic surname that dates back to the 12th century. It evolved from a Germanic personal name derived from the words ‘ger, gar.’

What does the name Gary mean?

Gary, which is said to have its root in the Germanic language, means ‘hard or bold spear.’

When did Gary become popular in the U.S.?

Gary peaked in popularity in the U.S. in the early 1950s.

National Gary Day Activities

  1. Obtain a tattoo

    Do your research and find the best tattooist in town. This could be fun, especially if you’ve always wanted a tattoo.

  2. Try bungee jumping

    Take on bungee jumping, or any other adventurous activity. Go on, push yourself out of your comfort zone.

  3. Take a shopping trip

    This is ideal for a last-minute party and may be done alone or with friends and family. Be sure to get yourself something nice to wear on your special day.

5 Fun Facts About Gary

  1. It’s a U.S. male given name

    Gary has been on the male naming charts in the U.S. since the late 19th century.

  2. It was not that popular back then

    Gary remained at the bottom of the rankings and didn't start showing any potential for an increase until the mid-1920s.

  3. Gary Cooper popularized the name

    Gary Cooper became a great cinema star in 1927, and in just two years, his name rose more than 300 spots on the ranking list.

  4. A favorite name in the U.S.

    The name continued to climb alongside Mr. Cooper's brilliant career, and Gary would become a top 100 favorite name in the U.S. by 1933.

  5. One of the mid-century definer

    When it comes to male names, Gary is a mid-century definer.

Why We Love National Gary Day

  1. Garys are goal-oriented people

    You are a bright thinker with a lot of drive and the capacity to make things happen. You are a visionary, which may help you financially in the future.

  2. Garys are ambitious

    You're your own person, ambitious and independent. You do not modify your views because of pressure from others.

  3. Garys don’t like conflict

    You hate breaking the rules and pushing the boundaries. Despite your guarded demeanor, your desire and courage make you naturally autonomous relying on your natural gift of intuition.

National Gary Day dates

2024November 20Wednesday
2025November 20Thursday
2026November 20Friday
2027November 20Saturday
2028November 20Monday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.