National Old Maids Day, celebrated on June 4, sheds light on the single and childless women over the usual age for marriage. Initially, the ‘old maid’ was considered derogatory as it was used to mock women who were neither married nor had a child. In the old days, people had strict views of the roles a woman should fulfill in order to shape society and future generations. It is because of such societal expectations that single and childless women faced difficult times. However, as times progressed and situations started changing, the term ‘old maid’ gained a much more positive meaning. Today, the day is celebrated in honor of women who chose to focus on themselves as individuals.
History of National Old Maids Day
The first National Old Maids Day was celebrated back in 1948. The idea for the day came to Marion Richards from Jeffersonville. WWII had just come to an end and 16 million soldiers were returning home. Many marriages and relationships were put on pause because of the war, but the return signaled a new beginning. The period after WWII ended recorded some of the highest numbers of marriages taking place in the country. While it was definitely a cause for full-blown celebrations, there were many women who were left partnerless because their beaus hadn’t returned from the war. Out of the 16 million American soldiers, 420,000 never returned. These women who never married because they were waiting for their lovers to return (and never did) were honored by Marion Richards. Richards held the first Old Maids gathering in which the unmarried and childless women were celebrated and appreciated for their contributions to churches, schools, hospitals, offices, and the general society.
In the 21st century, times have changed immensely, and women are less scorned for their choices to pursue careers and their own betterment over having a husband and children. Yet, many women still face prejudices and the burden of societal stigma if they do not marry and have children ‘in time’. Women, as opposed to men, therefore, are more expected to start a family. But National Old Maids Day refuses to let women bow down to such expectations. Instead, the focus is shifted to leading a life of free will, filled with amazing friendships, travels, and adventures.
National Old Maids Day timeline
17th-century England sees the highest number of unmarried women, labeling them as ‘old maids’ because of the ‘paradoxical’ nature of being old without a husband and children.
A pamphlet, “A Satyr on Old Maids,” is anonymously published to mock unmarried women for being ‘impure’ and ‘repugnant’.
WWII finally ends, ushering in the return of the American soldiers who can finally start their lives with their lovers.
Marion Richards holds the first Old Maids gathering in order to honor and appreciate the unmarried and childless women for their contributions towards schools, churches, hospitals, and offices.
National Old Maids Day FAQs
When is National Old Maids Day?
The National Old Maids Day is on June 4 every year.
What happens if you get the ‘old maid’?
In the old maid card game from the Victorian era, players avoided being left with the black queen or the ‘old maid’ because that meant they lost the game.
What age is an old maid?
In the 17th century, a woman was considered an old maid if she remained unmarried and childless by the time she reached her mid-20s. However, today the word ‘spinster’ is more commonplace, and it is used to refer to women between the ages of 23 and 26.
How To Celebrate National Old Maids Day
Have an old maids party
You can either host one or participate in one, but there’s definitely a party to be had on this day. Enjoy the day celebrating the women who grabbed the chance to lead their own lives according to their will. Eat, drink, and play should be the motto for the day.
Make travel plans
Plan a trip with your unmarried female friends to celebrate the occasion. Whether you choose to go for a small picnic somewhere, or you plan to travel for a few nights stay, make it a trip that you’ll remember for years to come.
Look up famous old maids
Many important female figures in history never married or had children. One such example is Elizabeth I, who was the Queen of Ireland and England from 1558 to 1603. Despite having many offers from neighboring princes and aristocrats, she never married and remained childless.
5 Facts About Spinsters That Will Blow Your Mind
A Nobel Peace Prize winner was a spinster
The first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize was an old maid called Jane Addams.
Chanel was a spinster
Gabrielle Bonheur, also known as Coco Chanel, was a famous French fashion designer and businesswoman who was also a spinster.
Married women were against their daughters marrying
In a 1962 poll, the majority of married women claimed that they were happy, but only 10% wanted their daughters to follow in their footsteps.
Old maids formed the first working women union
The factory women in Massachusetts were mostly single, unmarried women who formed the first major women’s union for working unions.
Women without husbands killed for being ‘witches’
During the period from 1450 to 1750, of the many women who were accused of witchcraft and were then killed, three-quarters were widows over 50.
Why We Love National Old Maids Day
It’s a celebration of their resilience
Due to a patriarchal and misogynistic society, women have to face countless hurdles from the moment they are born. It is their resilience against this injustice and society’s pressures that have led them to lead their lives according to their own will. We should celebrate and appreciate them for showing us how to never give up.
It’s a celebration of their contributions
The National Old Maids Day was started as a way of recognizing the efforts of all the old maids for the society they lived in. Even though they were in pain for having lost their lovers to the war, they continued to serve society and live on in the best ways they could.
It’s a celebration of their existence
To exist is to resist, and this phrase is the answer to all those who believe that a woman’s only purpose in life is to get married, have children, and build society. Women, like men, have every right to just be, without needing the labels of marriage and parenthood.
National Old Maids Day dates