National Cousins Day is around the corner; a holiday that takes place on the 24th of July every year. Its purpose is to celebrate the bond between cousins and bring them together by reminding us of the importance of family ties outside the immediate family. 

We are all very familiar with the celebration of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even National Siblings Day. However, cousins also play a crucial role in our lives with many of them being our first friends as we begin to socialise from an early age. Many of us might even consider them as siblings, especially if we are lucky enough to grow up with them side by side. As we slowly reach adulthood, some of us manage to keep in contact with our cousins, whereas for others keeping up while having a busy schedule can be difficult. Either way, National Cousins Day is the perfect opportunity to rekindle and spend the day together, cherishing the beautiful bond of extended family.

History of National Cousins Day

While the exact origins of National Cousins Day remain unknown, it has been noted that family reunions became common once the first settlers of America started to leave their colonies for land and money. In other words, the coming together of families was a crucial part in keeping in contact and holding onto the family bonds.

In our increasingly globalising world, it is common for family members to scatter around the globe, making reunions even more necessary. Whether these are done in-person or via the internet, National Cousins Day can serve as a reminder to cancel all your plans on your calendar for the 24th of July and organize an event with your cousins.

Why is National Cousins Day so important?

I am sure most of us can agree that the relationship between cousins is a unique one! They are not exactly our siblings, yet they are not our friends either. We don’t share the same parents, we don’t live in the same house, and we might even live in different areas. However, we still share a handful of childhood memories, and we can talk about family drama without having to explain who is who like we would to a friend. 

Growing up in Greece, a culture where family ties are considered sacred, I spent every weekend – if not more frequently – with my cousins. Even after moving to the UK and some of my cousins moving to Germany, we still keep in contact almost every day, despite not being able to see each other in person regularly due to the long distance. This lifelong bond that I and many of you have with your cousins is worth celebrating and is definitely most deserving of its own notable day. 

Fun Facts about Cousins

  • First cousins share 12.5% of DNA.
  • Second cousins share 3.13% of DNA.
  • The average British person has 28 second cousins, 175 third cousins, 1,570 fourth cousins, 17,300 fifth cousins, and 174,000 sixth cousins.
  • Germany has no laws preventing cousins from marrying each other.
  • Alois Hitler (Adolf Hitler’s father) was a second cousin to his wife.
  • Albert Einstein married his first cousin in his second marriage.

What can I do on National Cousins Day?

First things first, get in contact with your cousins and arrange a time and location to reunite on this special day. Whether that is through a Zoom call because of the distance or COVID-19, which undoubtedly has made in-person contact more difficult, or a physical location such as a restaurant or a house, make sure your Cousins Day plans are made in advance. 

Once the reunion begins, it is time to celebrate your unique bond. Reminiscing childhood memories over cocktails or updating each other on your current affairs are perfect conversation topics. After all, communication is key to all healthy relationships!

Another great activity to include on your day is to go through family photo albums, watch childhood videos and even listen to memorable songs you enjoyed together as children. If this is not possible, you could always watch a movie or TV series that highlights the importance of cousin relationships. For instance, the classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a fun addition to your list of activities, as it perfectly portrays the relationship between extended family, including cousins!

Of course, celebrating National Cousins Day may not be possible for all. Whether that is due to work or because you have not been in contact for a while, this notable day is still the perfect opportunity to send a text or give your cousins a call and remind them of how much they mean to you. 

Either way, take advantage of the 24th of July and spread some love and positivity in your family!

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Nina Lelidou

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