International Friendship Day is a day for celebrating friendship. The day has been celebrated in several southern South American countries for many years, particularly in Paraguay, where the first World Friendship Day was proposed in 1958.
Initially created by the greeting card industry, evidence from social networking sites shows a revival of interest in the holiday that may have grown with the spread of the Internet, particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. Digital communication modes such as the Internet and mobile phones may be helping to popularize the custom, since greeting friends en masse is now easier than before. Those who promote the holiday in South Asia attribute the tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends to have originated in the U.S. in 1935, but it actually dates from 1919. The exchange of Friendship Day gifts like flowers, cards and wrist bands is a popular tradition of this occasion.
Friendship Day celebrations occur on different dates in different countries. The first World Friendship Day was proposed for 30 July 1958. On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 30 July as official International Friendship Day. However, some countries, including India, celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August.
Friendship Day was originally promoted by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards in 1919, intended to be the first Sunday of August and a day when people celebrated their friendships by sending cards. The first Sunday in August was chosen as the centre of the largest lull between holiday celebrations. Friendship Day was promoted by the greeting 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 UN 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. Source: Wikipedia.org
Friendship Day in an entirely different time of the year and with different customs. For instance,
- National Friendship Day is on the first Sunday in August.
- Women’s Friendship Day is on the third Sunday in August
- International Friendship Month is February
- Old Friends, New Friends Week is the third week of May
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