Skip to Content

World Gratitude Day (Sept 21) History & Gratitude Coloring Page

There are so many events that occur in the autumn which center around gratitude. While Thanksgiving is probably the event that comes to mind first, did you know there’s also a World Gratitude Day?

This day falls annually on September 21st, and is dedicated to celebrating and sharing gratitude. No matter how you express it, whether through actions like sending gratitude quotes, or by expressing it verbally to friends and family, today is a great day to spread thankfulness.

This September national day of gratitude is one that is celebrated worldwide! Keep reading to get gratitude facts, learn World Gratitude Day history, and get a list of ways to celebrate the day. 

Want to get your children involved in practicing gratitude? Scroll down to get our free gratitude coloring page printable below. Even if you don’t have kids, it’s a relaxing activity you can do to celebrate this September 21 national day!

Text that reads "celebrate World Gratitude Day" at the top of the image over 13 different people holding up speech bubbles that say thank you in various languages.

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate foods, animals, concepts and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out this national days guide for more information about the history of national days, why we celebrate them.

World Gratitude Day history

The idea for World Gratitude Day came from a Thanksgiving dinner reception held by the United Nations 1963. An attendee, Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle asked the ambassador of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) if he and his countrymen would be interested in celebrating Thanksgiving too.

The ambassador didn’t anticipate support from his countrymen for celebrating a strictly American holiday. This caused Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle to aspire to create a holiday of gratitude which could celebrated by everyone in the world, together.

She proposed World Gratitude Day as a new holiday with a focus of uniting the world through gratitude on a new date, September 21.

Her idea was well received with international support. Each supporter pledged to hold a gratitude gathering the following year in their respective countries, and from there, World Gratitude Day was born.

A black background with the words "thank you" written in many different languages to celebrate World Gratitude Day, the words are going in different directions, and are of different color text.

September 21 was chosen for the date of World Gratitude Day because it is also the date of the autumnal equinox. Though the date of the autumnal equinox changes every year (falling anywhere between September 21 and 24), the date of World Gratitude Day is always on September 21.

Equinoxes are the only times in the year when there are roughly the same amount of hours in the day as there are the night (12 hours of day, and 12 hours of night). This equality of day and night was important to Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle, as she wanted all people to feel equal and united in gratitude, and in celebrating World Gratitude Day.

AND WHEREAS, September 21 is a special day. It is an equinox: one of the two times of the year when the sun passes over the equator and night and day are everywhere of equal length and everyone is equal under the sun;

THEREFORE let us proclaim World Gratitude Day, a holiday for all peoples, a day of meditation for all religions, a day of celebration for all humanity, united by knowledge of simultaneously shared emotion, a day when triumph of the spirit can make a world community.

-Quoted from The Proclamation of World Gratitude Day, published in The Seeker’s Mind by Sri Chinmoy

World Gratitude Day and Sri Chinmoy

Every year, The World Gratitude Day Board gives an award to a person who embodies the spirit of World Gratitude Day. In 1977, the board’s president, Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle presented Sri Chinmoy the World Gratitude Day award.

Sri Chinmoy was an Indian spiritual leader and meditation teacher. He was also the founder of The United Nations Meditation Group. He frequently wrote about gratitude, and even composed a song for World Gratitude Day.

There is some discrepancy as to whether Sri Chinmoy or Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle founded this September 21 national day. While noted as a participant in World Gratitude Day, Sri Chinmoy’s website gives credit to Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle as the founder of the day.

Facts about gratitude

Brush up on your knowledge of this September 21 national day with these gratitude facts. Some may surprise you!

Scrabble tiles spelled out across a dark wooden background to proclaim a gratitude fact which is "gratitude changes everything'.

  • November is celebrated as National Gratitude Month. Each month has many monthly observances, but this one is particularly fitting!
  • The word “gratitude” comes from the latin word gratus which literally translates to mean “thankful”.
  • There have been studies (1, 2, 3) which indicate a positive correlation between expressing gratitude and overall well-being and happiness.
  • It is considered polite to send thank-you cards after receiving gifts.
  • Some common events to after which it is appropriate to send thank-you notes are birthdays, for Christmas, baby showers, graduations, and weddings.

If you’re interested in learning more about more expressions of love and gratitude through sending notes, be sure to check out our post on the first Christmas card. You can also learn how Valentine’s Day cards became a symbol of the holiday.

How to celebrate World Gratitude Day

Would you like to celebrate this September 21 national day in a special way? Try one of these ideas.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.  

A pumpkin holding down the front outer cover of a thick book opened to a blank page with the words "practice gratitude" written on it in orange calligraphy letters to celebrate World Gratitude Day on September 21.

  • Print the gratitude coloring page from this link, or by using the print function at the bottom of this post, and color it in! You can even print several of them, and have a gratitude coloring pages party with your friends or family.
  • Practice gratitude by writing down what you’re thankful for.
  • Get a gratitude journal, so that you’ll have a specific, sacred, place to express your gratitude.
  • Share your gratitude with others. Phone a friend, or meet up with them in person and steer the conversation towards gratitude. Share some things you’re thankful for, and ask them some things they’re grateful for as well.
  • Spend time meditating on what you’re grateful for. You could even set up an outdoor garden meditation space for this experience.
  • Write a letter to a person you’re particularly grateful for. Send it to them in the mail!
  • Get a gratitude tattoo – or if you’re looking for something less permanent, try using a temporary tattoo of something you’re grateful for.
  • Practice doing acts of kindness to give back to others. Some examples would be making a home cooked meal for a friend or loved one, or donating books you’re no longer in need of.

Share this post about World Gratitude Day with your friends on twitter:

If you enjoyed learning about World Gratitude Day don’t forget to share them with your friends. Here’s a tweet to get you started:

Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday this fall centered around gratitude. Head to Always the Holidays to learn all about World Gratitude Day, which falls on September 21st! 🙏 💗 #Gratitude #Thankful Click To Tweet

More September 21 national days

Did you enjoy learning about World Gratitude Day? Well you’re in luck, September 21 is host to more than just one national day!

Blocks that read "September 21" to celebrate the September 21 national days on a countertop with a wooden diamond design, decorated with fake foliage.

Here is a complete list of all the September 21 national days:

  • World Gratitude Day
  • National Chai Day
  • National Pecan Cookie Day
  • National New York Day
  • National Day of Civic Hacking
  • Batman Day
  • Pause the World Day
  • World Alzheimer’s Day

More national days in September

There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in September. Some are nationally recognized days, while others are international days or world days.

To see all of the special days this month, have a look at this post to discover more about the national days in September.

If you enjoy doing puzzles, be sure to also check out the September word search printable which feature many of the national days hidden in a word find puzzle. 

A chalk board that has the words "Hello September" written on it in white chalk, with orange, yellow, red and green leaves scattered on a wooden backdrop around it.

Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the September food holidays here.

Be sure to also check out these national days this month:

Pin this post on World Gratitude Day for later

Would you like a reminder of this post for this September 21 national day? Just pin this image to one of your trivia boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

Text that reads "celebrate World Gratitude Day - get a free gratitude coloring page, learn the history of the day and get a list of gratitude facts!" over an image of a fall sunset where the sky is shades of blue and purple, with trees changing colors from yellow to red, in front of two mountains and a lake with a paved road running along he side of the image.

Yield: 1 Coloring Page

Celebrate World Gratitude Day with a Free Gratitude Coloring Page

Now that you've learned the World Gratitude Day history, and read a list of gratitude facts, it's time to celebrate!

Honor this September 21 national day by printing out the gratitude coloring page below.

You can even print several copies and have a gratitude coloring pages party with your friend and family!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1

Materials

  • Plain printer paper
  • Colored pencils

Tools

  • Printer

Instructions

  1. Load the paper into your printer.
  2. Choose portrait layout and if possible "fit to page" in your settings.
  3. Print the coloring sheet and color with markers, crayons or colored pencils.

Notes

Blank gratitude coloring pages with a geometric design across the entire background and the gratitude quote "gratitude turns what we have into enough' in bock letters across the middle.

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

Share on Social Media

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Skip to Instructions