International Friendship Day :International Friendship Day celebrations take place on the first Sunday of August every year. On this day, people spend time with their friends and express love for them. The exchange of Friendship Day gifts like flowers, cards, and wrist bands is a popular tradition of this occasion.Friendship day was originally founded by Hallmark in 1919. It was intended to be a day for people to celebrate their friendship by sending each other cards, but by 1940 the market had dried up, and eventually it died out completely. However, in 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations (believe it or not!), and in April 2011 the United Nations officially recognize 30th July as International Friendship Day; although most countries celebrate on the first Sunday of August!
According to the Friendship Day declaration, we are invited to “observe this day in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities”.
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.
Today, Friendship Day is enthusiastically celebrated every year by many countries. The occasion is observed on the first Sunday of every August. The traditional celebrations include meeting with friends and exchanging of cards, flowers and gifts. Many social and cultural organizations also celebrate Friendship Day by hosting programs and get together. Special performances by rock bands are also organized in countries like the US to enhance the.
In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie – the Pooh, the famous cartoon character as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.
It is interesting to note how some associations observe Friendship Day with different customs, by giving the festival different names and holding it in times unlike that of the actual festival.
For example, National Friendship Day is held on the first Sunday in August; Women’s Friendship Day is on the third Sunday in August; the third week of May is the Old Friends, New Friends Week and the whole of February is designated as the International Friendship Month.
These days, Friendship Day is celebrated with a lot of fanfare and great expenses. Just as in US and several other countries, the festival has been greatly commercialized.
Days before the festival, card and gift companies launch an extensive campaign to lure people into buying cards and gift items for their friends. Companies indulge in aggressive marketing to target youngsters, the main celebrators of festivals as these, and entice them into purchasing expensive articles for their pals. Restaurateurs too offer special discounts to make the most of the time. This marketing strategy has been severely criticized by many people and is a subject of debate every year. Many feel that such rampant commercialization has marred the very concept of Friendship Day and has turned it into a mere formality. Many on the other hand think that greater hype and hoopla around the occasion has helped to generate awareness about Friendship Day festival which was till recently a low-key affair (compared to occasions as “Mother’s Day” and “Father’s Day and thus promote friendship and brotherhood.
The popular customs of Friendship Day includes handing over roses, especially the pink and yellow ones. The day is observed with great exhilaration and merriment, with friends throwing parties, gorging on lip-smacking dishes and drinking hard (be it at home or at restaurants that offer special discounts for this occasion).
A highly popular thing associated with the day is the well-known Friendship Band – the modern day token of friendship that friends gift to one another to form an everlasting bond. Friendship bands are favorite items for youngsters and are available in stores all over the country. Girls go in for friendship bracelets instead of the conventional friendship wristbands. Friendship Poems and Friendship Day Gifts are exchanged between best friends to renew the bond of friendship and express gratitude and love for each other. These are new ways of celebration of this day that we have invented.
Since its inception in 1935, Friendship Day and Friendship Day celebrations have come a long way. But however much the ways of celebration have changed, the basic idea behind the occasion remains the same. Friendship Day remains the time when you acknowledge your friends’ contribution in your life, express love for them, cherish their presence in your life and pay them a tribute.
World Friendship Day is a celebrated on July 30 in the United States in pockets of Massachusetts, Ohio, Maryland, and occasionally New Hampshire. The holiday is often observed on the prior Saturday. As the name suggests, the primary focus is celebrating friendships, old and new.
In Argentina, Friend’s Day is an excuse for a friendly gathering and greeting both current and old friends. Since it is not an Argentine public holiday, people tend to gather during the evening.
Friend’s Day has in recent years turned into a very popular mass phenomenon. In 2005, the amount of well-wishing friends led to a temporary breakdown of the mobile phone network in the cities of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario, comparable to the one experienced in 2004 on Christmas and New Year’s Day. Seats in most restaurants, bars, and other establishments are often completely booked a week before the celebration.
Since the death of the Argentine cartoonist and writer Roberto Fontanarrosa in 2007, a proposal has existed to change the date to July 19, the day of his death.
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