World Friendship Day
When is World Friendship Day?
World Friendship Day is a relatively new holiday based on an age-old concept. Known by the United Nations as the International Day of Friendship, it is widely recognized on July 30th every year. Some regions celebrate the holiday on a different date, but the mission remains the same: to honor and recognize the important friendships in your life, both new and old.
The idea of a holiday to celebrate friendships came about twice in history. First, Joyce Hall from Hallmark Cards promoted the idea during the 1920s and 1930s. Hall proposed August 2nd as a day to send friends cards. While the idea took off at first, it was soon seen as a commercial gimmick on the part of Hallmark to sell cards. The company was also criticized for choosing the date as a way to make money during a seasonal lull. Criticisms were especially sharp during the depression, when few people had extra money to spend on leisurely items.
Following early friendship day failures, some communities celebrated the holiday unofficially. However, ideas of an official holiday came up again during the 1950s in another continent. In Paraguay, Dr. Artemio Bracho came up with the idea of a World Friendship Crusade. It was formed on July 20, 1958, and was quickly adopted by other countries in South America. The United Nations took notice of the Crusade and eventually recognized the holiday on an international scale.
World Friendship Day was officially adopted by the United Nations in 2011 as the International Day of Friendship. The purpose of this was to expand on the holiday by promoting friendships between various countries and regions of the world. It is the hope of the United Nations that promoting cross-culture friendships will help to bring about peace and understanding and celebrate global diversity.
Celebrations of World Friendship Day vary by region. While cards and small gifts are the norm in the United States and Europe, many cultures exchange friendship bracelets. These wristbands are popular among younger generations in the U.S., but they have been historically regarded as high symbols of friendship in Asia and the Middle East for centuries. Different colors are woven to represent the personalities of the recipients.
Other celebrations simply consist of enjoying each other’s company. Cooking food and going out to eat are popular among friends during this holiday. As the Internet age continues to accelerate, many friends are taking their sentiments to the Web through email and social networking sites. At the same time, nothing beats an old-fashioned phone call between friends across long distances.
Due to its global celebrations, World Friendship Day also celebrates the way in which people of all cultures can form lasting relationships across borders. This aspect is particularly important in war-ravaged nations in which opposing forces exist in the same countries. In this perspective, supporters of World Friendship Day hope to promote peace.
The United Nations recognizes World Friendship Day as the International Day of Friendship on July 30th every year. Sometimes the holiday is also globally recognized as International Friendship Day. This date was chosen in 2011.
Since friendship doesn’t technically have any boundaries, World Friendship Day is celebrated during different dates. In the United States, most people celebrate the holiday on July 30th, while some communities choose a weekend near this date if it doesn’t fall on a Saturday or Sunday of a particular year. Many European nations celebrate World Friendship Day on the first Sunday in August. In Paraguay, some communities still recognize July 20th, the original date proposed by Dr. Bracho, as Friendship Day.
By: Kristeen Cherney
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