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The History of Friendship Day

August 3rd, 2012 Inspirational

Human beings are social creatures who thrive on interpersonal connections with others. While family is an important part of how we first engage with the world, the bonds we forge outside of the family unit allow us to expand our horizons and become better equipped to meet new challenges. It's only fitting then that friends, who occupy such an invaluable role in our lives, have a whole day devoted just to them.

Hallmark beginnings

Friendships have been honored throughout the ages, yet they finally received their due in the 20th century. Friendship Day was first proposed by Joyce C. Hall in 1919, reports India Today. Hall, who was the founder of Hallmark Cards, intended for the day to be celebrated on the first Sunday of every August. According to IBN Live, this period was selected because it falls within a holiday slump.

While Hall likely viewed the day as a marketable opportunity to boost his business, the tender sentiment behind the very notion of a day devoted to friends is noteworthy. While the source reports that the holiday initially met with consumer resistance, by 1935 the tide had changed. That year, the United States Congress decreed that the holiday would fall on the first Sunday of every August.

International acclaim

On July 30, 1958, Paraguay proposed the first World Friendship Day. The brainchild of Dr. Artemio Bracho, this idea also gave life to the World Friendship Crusade, reports HolidaysCalendar.com.

In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly established July 30 as International Friendship Day, reports the U.N. Regional Information Center. Unlike Hall, the organization sought to pass this measure in an effort to promote friendship between peoples, cultures and countries of different beliefs. Through the holiday, world leaders also seek to inspire new relationships and build stronger bridges between regions.

The source also notes that Winnie the Pooh was named the world's Ambassador of Friendship by the U.N. in 1998. Nane Annan, the wife of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, championed this measure.

Modern resources

As we incorporate more technology into our lives, people are bound to feel a greater sense of dissonance between old social norms and what they mean for modern interpersonal relationships. In recent years, websites that help connect others to new relationships have grown in popularity. From romantic relationships to meeting exciting new friends, the internet has become an excellent way to engage with like-minded people and develop tight-knit bonds with others.

Ways to celebrate

Whether it's an old pal or a new one you met online, if you're looking for a unique idea to show your best friend how much you really care, you don't have to search far. While friendship bracelets can be an excellent way for youngsters to show off their special relationships, for adults, other exciting options like creating a video message or leaving thoughtful notes may be just the thing to warm a friend's heart. Likewise, going out for dinner at a new restaurant can help you build memorable new experiences with one another and may create a tradition that you won't be able to resist repeating!

Above all, try to let the harmonious spirit that permeates this special day transform the way you approach friendships for the next year. Friendship Day can serve as a reminder to honor companions and treat them with respect. However, don't be afraid to let the optimism of this day impact your relationships with strangers. Instead of petty squabbles or disagreements, try to resolve confrontations when they emerge in a peaceful and courteous manner.