Friendship is another word for love and even when most loved ones will not entertain your 3 am tantrums, your best friend surely will. It is when we can’t look on the bright side that our friends sit with us in the dark, who see the pain in our eyes while everyone else believes our smiles.
While you can be crazy with your BFFs, they are also the ones who don’t always need verbal communication to understand you and that is why friends are the greatest gift of life. Sometimes, being with your best friend is all the therapy you need and to celebrate these friends who would always love you—the imperfect you, the confused you or the wrong you, Friendship Day is celebrated across the world with great pomp and show.
International Friendship Day is celebrated annually on July 30. However, countries like India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and United States mark Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August every year.
In 1930, Friendship Day was first organised by the founder of Hallmark Cards, Joyce Hall. He intended this day to be celebrated on August 2; a day when people would come together and celebrate their camaraderie.
However, people quickly realised that is was only a gimmick to sell greeting cards and the holiday died down in the United States. In most countries across Asia, Friendship day is still celebrated on August 2.
An International Friendship Day was first proposed on July 30, 1958 by the World Friendship Crusade, an international civil organisation that campaigns to foster peaceful culture through friendship. The idea of globally celebrating Friendship Day came to Dr Ramon Artemio Bracho on July 20, 1958.
As he sat down to dinner with his friends in the town of Puerto Pinasco, Paraguay, the merry group of friends gave way to the World Friendship Crusade. It was meant to be a foundation that would promote friendship and fellowship among humankind, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.
Then in 1998, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s wife Nane Annan named the cartoon character, Winnie the Pooh, as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations. The event was co-hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford and co-sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information and Disney Enterprises.
Finally on April 27, 2011, United Nations’ General Assembly declared July 30 as official International Friendship Day. The Assembly even went so far as to invite all the member states to celebrate the occasion in accordance with their own customs and practices.
According to the United Nations, the UN General Assembly proclaimed July 30 as International Day of Friendship with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities. “The resolution places emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.”
However, people across the globe largely mark the day to celebrate the BFF journey from being strangers in an academic institute or workplace to now being inseparable and nurture bonds of intimate friendship with those we can talk to for endless hours, without hesitancy and with the assurance that they got our back and vice versa. Even though it is not a public holiday, people around the world go out with their friends and toast to each other’s good health and many more years together.
The day is celebrated by friends exchanging greeting cards and gifts, spending quality time with their best friends, some even make friendship bands and tie it on their friends’ wrists on this day as an act of affirmation and simply put in extra efforts to make their friends feel special or take extra care of their friends in their love languages. With Friendship Day 2021 just around the corner, make sure that you strengthen the bond between you and your friends with humility and truth, forget differences or pride or right and wrong and heal the wounds between you and who you care for.