The transformation from paper-written pen friends to online-social network chats is not hundred-years-old. But one thing never changed- youngster’s beeline for gift-shops to buy choicest soft-toys, greetings cards and wrist bands. A materialistic display of abstract love – friendship. And this is possible because of Friendship Day!
Friendship Day or International Friendship Day was originally promoted by Joyce Clyde Hall (August 29, 1891 – October 29, 1982), an American businessman, the founder of Hallmark cards in the year 1930, and he intended 2nd August to be a day when people celebrated their happy friendships by sending cards. And the reason for choosing the date was because a long lull of no celebrations was evident in the month.
Friendship Day was finally promoted by the greeting card National Association during the 1920s but met with consumer resistance because the whole thing was seen as a commercial gimmick to see Hallmark greetings card. And by the year 1940, the number of Friendship Cards almost dwindled dangerously until the holiday that tagged along almost died out – in Europe, but it has been largely kept alive and re-vitalised in the far – East Asian countries where it was gladly adopted.
In honour of Friendship Day, Nane Annan, the other half of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as world’s “Ambassador of Friendship” at the United Nations in 1998.
The idea of a World Friendship Day was first propounded on 20 July 1958 by Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho during a dinner-party with friends in Puerto Pinasco, a beautiful town on the River Paraguay about 200 miles north of Asuncion.
Out of this humble gathering of close friends, the World Friendship Crusade took birth. The World Friendship Crusade is actually a foundation that promotes friendship and fellowship among all human beings, irrespective of race, color or religion. Since then, 30th July has always been faithfully celebrated as the honourable Friendship Day in Paraguay every year and the same has also been adopted by several other countries but with slight difference in timing and date.
And in fact, it was the “The World Friendship Crusade” that lobbied the United Nations for many years to recognise 30th July as World Friendship Day and finally on 20 May, the General Assembly of the United Nations ultimately decided to designate it as the “International Day of Friendship”; and to invite all its Member States to observe the International Day of Friendship “in accordance with the culture and customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.”
In India, every first Sunday of the month of August is marked down as the official day for celebrating Friendship Day.
Originally, created and spearheaded by the greeting card industry, evidence from social media, especially social networking sites show great interests of a new revival in the idea of holiday attached to Friendship Day in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Modern days of digital communication such as the Internet and mobile phones helped in popularizing the event as it’s obvious that greetings friends en masse is practically easier now with the quick click of a button, than before.
The popular exchange of flowers, cakes, chocolates, cards and wrist bands are considered a tradition for the occasion.
Happy Friendship Day, y’all!
Image Source: The Viewspaper