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Apostrophes for Holidays

We celebrate many nonreligious holidays. Some of these special days include apostrophes, but others do not, and there’s a simple rule to help you remember which is which.


  • I got her some flowers for Mothers Day.
  • Happy New Year’s!
  • We celebrate Veteran’s Day on the first Monday in November.


Only Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Day need an apostrophe because they are possessive; there are holidays in honor of each parent (yours), one Valentine (yours), and one New Year. Veterans Day, also known as Armistice Day, is in honor of all military veterans; it does not belong to anyone, and does not take an apostrophe. The day of the new year is New Year’s Day. To be precise, without the word day, “Happy New Year’s” means “Happy New Year is,” but colloquial use allows for Happy New Year’s.


The first American Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, who campaigned for it to be a national holiday; it happened in 1911. She noted that it is a singular “Mother’s Day” (not Mothers’ Day). Father’s Day wasn’t official until 1966.

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