Updated April 10, 2024 at 9:11 AM ET

Every April 10 for several years now, many social media feeds are transformed into a virtual family album of sorts, as friends and acquaintances post photos to mark National Siblings Day.

But unlike many of the unofficial holidays that clutter the calendar year — from Talk Like a Pirate Day to National French Fry Day — National Siblings Day is neither frivolous nor commercially motivated. Instead, it is a holiday born of profound love — and loss.

As NPR's Science Desk explores the science of siblings, we decided to reach out to Claudia Evart, the woman who conceived the holiday. She grew up with an older brother and sister. They were her first best friends, her support and her mentors, she says.

The origin story of National Siblings Day

Tragically, both of Evart's siblings died at young ages in separate accidents. Her sister, Lisette, was just 19 when she was killed in a car accident, alongside their father. Evart was 17. Fourteen years later, Evart's brother, Alan, died after hitting his head in a fall.

"You always think they'll be there," she says. "And I took them for granted, and I didn't realize how much they meant to me. Until you lose them, [then] you realize what you lost."

In 1995, a decade after Alan's death, Evart says she was celebrating her own birthday in late March when she was struck by an overpowering sense of sadness and loneliness. "I came to the realization that I would never again celebrate my birthday with my beloved siblings."

"It's the most powerful relationship you ever have in your life," she says, adding, "It's a very hard thing to lose your siblings. The void is just so intense."

Evart says she created National Siblings Day both to honor her own siblings' memories and to encourage widespread recognition of the unique bond between siblings. It's on April 10 every year because that is Lisette's birthday. "We have Mother's and Father's Day. Why not have your siblings recognized?"

While National Siblings Day isn't a federal holiday, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all issued letters recognizing the day, according to the Siblings Day Foundation, which Evart founded.

Evart says she'd like to see people mark the day by taking the time to cherish their siblings. "Whether you're reliving childhood memories, planning an outing or simply spending quality time together, let's make this day special. Reach out to your siblings, near and far, and let them know how much they mean to you."

As for those photos and heartfelt messages that will likely flood social media again this year? "It's the greatest thing," she says.

In that spirit, I will close with a shamelessly earnest message of my own: Monica, Olga, Elena, thank you for being the best sisters I could ever ask for.

More from the Science of Siblings series:

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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