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SunSep 8

Pardon Day – September 8, 2024

Pardon Day is celebrated on September 8. Human relationships can become sour from time to time. Grudges are formed, allegiances are broken. This seems to be an inevitable occurrence. It also means that with every negative event that may transpire between us and others, we are also given a chance to find peace and happiness.

History of Pardon Day

Forgiveness is the desire to let go of negative feelings towards a person who has wronged you. It involves a change of attitude from the person that has been wronged and it’s an act of goodwill. Forgiveness is one of the principal teachings of many religions. For example, Judaism views forgiveness as a pious act, even if the person who was wronged hasn’t received an apology. In Islam, forgiveness is a prerequisite to find inner peace and is a better course of action whenever possible.

This doesn’t mean that it’s an easy thing to do. Forgiving can be a process that takes a very long time and quite some effort — therefore it often may not happen at all. Dialogue is always helpful when forgiving is hard to do. Understanding the reasons why someone wronged you might help pave the way to an act of reconciliation.

The word ‘pardon’ has some legal connotations. It’s a release from the penalty of an offense by a higher authority figure. This brings us to the origin of Pardon Day. On September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford granted a very controversial pardon to ex-President Richard Nixon. Nixon had been involved in one of the most scandalous events in American history, the Watergate affair.

While the day might have a contentious origin, Pardon Day allows us to reflect upon our feelings and aim to be more forgiving.

Pardon Day timeline

Leo Tolstoi is Born

The Russian writer famous for his novel “War and Peace” famously said: “Let us forgive each other — only then will we live in peace.”

Brookings, Oregon forgives Nobuo Fujita

Nobuo Fujita, a Japanese fighter pilot who participated in WWII bombing campaigns during 1942, visits Brookings, a town he bombed during the operation, and surrenders his samurai sword as a symbol of goodwill, which the town accepts.

President Gerald Ford Grants Richard Nixon Pardon

The president viewed this act as a symbol of putting corruption behind us and moving the country forward.

Pope John Paul II Forgives his Would-Be Assassin

An attempt on the Pope’s life was committed in 1981 — John Paul ll pays a visit to his aggressor in prison and publicly forgives him.

Pardon Day FAQs

Do I have to meet with the person I’m forgiving? 

This is not necessary. Forgiveness is a personal journey, don’t feel pressured to get back in contact with anyone you don’t want to.


What’s the best way to ask for forgiveness? 

This will change in every situation. A period of self-reflection may be needed before an approach is made. 


Is this a religious celebration? 

While many religions teach forgiveness, Pardon Day doesn’t have a religious origin. 

How to celebrate Pardon Day

  1. Forgive someone

    Try and forgive someone who has wronged you. It will bring you relief and peace.

  2. Forgive yourself

    This can be a very healing thing to do. Reflect on your life. Do you need to forgive yourself for something?

  3. Be kind

    Take this day to observe the way you behave to others and make an effort to be as kind as possible.

Why We Love Pardon Day

  1. It allows us to teach an important lesson

    If you have children, this is a good day to teach them about the concept of forgiveness.

  2. Pardon Day is all about finding inner peace

    Forgiving someone should be an act that benefits you more than anyone.

  3. Forgiving is a good way to bring people back together

    Pardon Day can be the first step in a journey to repair a relationship.

Pardon Day dates

2024September 8Sunday
2025September 8Monday
2026September 8Tuesday
2027September 8Wednesday
2028September 8Friday

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