There’s a grandma in the family – my sister. This, of course, means that I’m a very proud great-aunt, to Robin born in January…

great nephew

and Ella Joy born in March.

great niece

I was therefore quick to spot that today, the first Sunday in March, is Fête des grands-mères here in France.

The official description of the day is that it’s a time for grandchildren to celebrate their grandmothers, and, apparently, it’s generally intended at enhancing the role of grans in our society. However, it actually started off in 1987 as a marketing ploy to boost a particular brand of coffee: Grand’Mère café, now owned by the Kraft Jacobs Suchard group. Within ten years 83% of people had heard about Grandmothers’ Day, which gives a good indication of the power of advertising.


Age Concern got National Grandparents’ Day going in the UK in 1990 and is on the first Sunday in October. However, grandmothers generally hop on the bandwagon of Mother’s Day (the fourth Sunday in Lent). Many countries now have a Grandmothers’ Day, most originating during the 1970s and afterwards, although one of the earliest ones seems to be Poland’s Dzień Babci which began in 1964, the promotion of a magazine. So all in all, rather a commercial affair. But if you still have your gran, then I’m sure you don’t need any excuse to give her a hug. I’d love to give my Nan a hug today. It’s taken a while to find a photo of her but here she is at my wedding, with little Sophie (now Ella’s mum).

Nan and Sophie