WASHINGTON – As if the 46 pictures of her sisters and friends didn't take up enough space in her bedroom,Jessica Scott,22,of Chicago,and her sister Shelly,18,took more pictures Sunday – Sisters' Day.
Never heard of Sisters' Day? You're not alone. Scott,a graduate student,said she had heard of the holiday,but didn't remember the date. It's the first Sunday in August.
“Asking Shelly to take pictures wasn't because of Sisters' Day,” Scott said. “It was because she's my sister. Since it falls on that day,it works out.”
Tricia Rivalto Eleogram,who came up with the idea with one of her sisters,said the day isn't just for biological sisters but for sorority sisters,sisterly friends and even brothers and sisters.
“Actually,my son is 14 and my daughter is getting ready to be 3,” Eleogram said. “And she kept saying to him,‘You didn't get something for Sisters' Day.' So he went and got her a movie,and they watched a movie together.”
Eleogram,a native of Memphis,Tenn.,and her sister were driving to Florida when they started talking about creating a day for sisters.
“My sister bought a book for my dad and it had pictures in it – fathers and daughters,” Eleogram said. “And so we thought,‘Well,we could get a portrait taken.' And then we thought,‘Well,we should just get the sisters taken.' And ideas flowed like that. … It wasn't anything more than talk on the trip.”
Eleogram said the idea really came to life in 1997 on a vacation with a group of her girlfriends,who all had sisters. Stacey Lowrey Berry,another Memphis native,was a part of that group.
“I was telling them about the idea,and Stacey's gung-ho for anything and said,‘Let's do it!'” Eleogram said. After several failed attempts to gain recognition,Eleogram and Berry were referred to Chase’s Calendar of Events,which agreed to list the holiday.
As a relative newcomer to the holiday list,Sisters’ Day causes some calendric confusion.
Brownielocks.com,which tracks unfamiliar holidays and observances,had Sisters' Day listed as Aug. 3 – the day Eleogram and Berry said it was. But Lycos Greetings and hallmark.com had the holiday listed as Aug. 5 – just like the WPXI-TV and WRC-TV Web sites. And some greeting card or calendar sites didn't list it at all.
Holly McGuire,editor in chief of Chase’s Calendar of Events,said there is no official keeper of holidays. Chase’s issues a book that tries to include any recognized holiday. The 752-page book includes 12,000 listings of domestic and foreign holidays,celebrity birthdays,presidential deaths and other notable dates.
“Nobody is in charge of holidays anywhere!” McGuire said. “If you want to celebrate ‘Thank Your Postal Carrier Day' every August 7,there's nothing to say you can't do it.”
Chase’s has been recognized as the “Day-by-Day Directory to Special Days,Weeks and Months” by the U.S. Department of Commerce since 1959.
“Say you want to begin celebrating ‘Thank Your Postal Carrier Day,'” she said. “Go to your local town council and see if they'll make a proclamation. If they do,then you can move on to the state level and get a state legislature proclamation.”
But there's no rule that says you have to go through any formal steps to create a holiday.
“Getting proclamations means that you get your day noticed,” McGuire said. “You don't need to do it.”
Rachel A. Bolton,spokeswoman for Hallmark,acknowledged it had a different date on its Web site than the Sisters' Day creators wanted and apologized.
“As far as the dates are concerned,Hallmark obviously is extremely sorry for the confusion,” Bolton said. “But it's a wonderful thing to recognize a sister whether it's on a Sunday or a Tuesday or any other day,and I suppose the best result of this,would be if it simply kind of refocuses on the importance of sisters.”
Eleogram wasn't upset about the mix-up. She just wants to see the holiday grow from a “grassroots' effort.”
“Every year it's taken a bigger step and a bigger step,” she said. “We're hoping that eventually,it'll just be thought of as another day like Mother's Day and Father's Day.”