What’s the story behind Friendship Day?

First Sunday of August it is, which means its that time of the year again when you post a Friendship Day card on Facebook and tag all your friends on it. Oh wait, isn’t tagging thing kinda old school now? Plus the time has changed and “Thank you for the tag” era has ended and now if you tag someone on a photo in which you can’t actually see them, all you get is the threat to block you. Oh come on, I am not writing about the sad story of ‘Once upon a time on Facebook’ here but the origin of the ‘Friendship Day’. So before I start the thing, a very Happy Friendship Day to you and all your friends. So now, there are actually two theories behind the origin of this amazing day of friendship and here they are:

First Theory:
Friendship Day was originally promoted by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards in 1919, and intended on first sunday of August to be a day where people celebrated their friendships by sending cards. The first Sunday in August was chosen as the centre of the largest lull in holiday celebrations. Friendship Day was promoted by the greetings card National Association during the 1920s but met with consumer resistance – given that it was rather too obviously a commercial gimmick to promote greetings cards. By the 1940s the number of Friendship Day cards available in the US had dwindled and the holiday largely died out there. There is no evidence to date for its uptake in Europe, however it has been kept alive and revitalised in Asia where several countries adopted the tradition of dedicating a day to friends. Today, Friendship Day is enthusiastically celebrated in a number of countries across the world.
In honor of Friendship Day in 1998, Nane Annan, wife of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations. The event was co-sponsored by the U.N. Department of Public Information and Disney Enterprises, and was co-hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford.
Many friends acknowledge each other with exchange of gifts and cards on this day. Friendship bands are very popular in Nepal, India, Bangladesh and parts of South America. With the advent of social networking sites, friendship day is also being celebrated online. The commercialization of the Friendship Day celebrations has led to some dismissing it as a “marketing gimmick”. But Nowadays it is celebrated on First Sunday Of August, Dropping the 30th July Celebration.

The tradition of celebrating Friendship Day began in 1935 when the US Congress decided to dedicate a day in the honor of friends. Though it is not known exactly what were the reasons that went into the making of this day, the retrospection of the world scenario of those times can lead us to an understanding. With the devastating effects of the First World War still showing and increasing hostilities, mistrust and hatred between countries providing the perfect conditions for another imminent battle, there was a greater need for friendship and camaraderie not only among nations but also among individuals.

Hence, the US Congress decided to designate the first Sunday of the month of August as Friendship Day and with a formal proclamation in 1935, officially declared the occasion a holiday dedicated in the honour of friends and friendship. Since then, celebration of National Friendship Day became an annual event. The lofty idea of honoring the beautiful relationship of friendship caught on with the people, particularly the youngsters all over the country, and in no time Friendship Day became a highly popular festival.

But the success of this wonderful occasion was not to be limited to the US alone. With time, several other countries followed suit in adopting the tradition of dedicating a day to the cause of friendship. The beautiful idea of having a day in the honor of friends was joyously taken over by several other countries across the world. With more and more nations joining in the celebrations, Friendship Day soon became International Friendship Day.

There are some debates on which theory is more accurate but does that even matter at all? Like really? And why are you even wasting your time reading this long article? Its Friendship Day, go grab your friends and party like its the last day of the world. Enjoy folks!!!


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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