You probably didn’t know it, but July 30 is International Day of Friendship; a popular holiday worldwide!
The founder of Hallmark created Friendship Day and it was promoted in the 1920s. However, since many saw the day as a ploy to sell greeting cards, the celebration of the holiday dwindled in this country. It is still widely recognized in Asia.
International Day of Friendship was proposed during the 1950s by Dr. Ramon Bracho at a dinner party at his house in Paraguay. Afterwards, the World Friendship Crusade organization petitioned the United Nations for decades to have the holiday made official. On July 27, 2011, the United Nations made July 30 the International Day of Friendship with the passing of resolution A/RES/65/275.
United Nations wanted to create a day that taught youth tolerance and appreciation for each other’s cultures. Sometimes we can’t all get along because of differences in opinions on politics or religion. However, if we understand the importance of quality friendships to our health, we are more likely to strive to maintain those friendships that are mutually beneficial.
Having friendships can help us feel better about ourselves. It’s a healthy ego boast to get congratulated you for an accomplishment. Friends who are not envious or competitive also tend to complement each other on everything from our inner strength, to being a good listener, to having a good sense of humor to our clothing style and choices. I think when a person is dealing with a death in the family, serious illness, divorce or job loss, being able to have a true friend or two to lean on can be just as helpful as seeking professional help. Having strong social ties has been linked to reduction of depression, high blood pressure and unhealthy body mass index. Believe it or not, people with full and active social lives have shown to live longer lives (mayoclinic.org), in addition to sometimes happier ones.
For International Friendship Day, why not call a friend or group of friends you haven’t seen in a long time and plan to go to a concert, amusement park or do another fun activity you used to do? Even if you had an argument with that friend or friends, remember, just because people don’t always see eye to eye doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a friendship.
Another idea is to make new friends by going to a site like meetup.com intended to allow people to meet in groups with those with similar interests from dining to movies to exercise to thrift store shopping.
I have only known my best friend Kathleen since I met her on my church’s grounds late last year, and we are one year apart in age. I plan to cherish her and other true friends on International Day of Friendship and throughout my expected long life. Now that International Day of Friendship is recognized as more than a gimmick, don’t hesitate to get a card or two for friends that help extend and enrich your life.
Tanya Terry is a staff writer for The View Newspapers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.