International Day of Friendship

“Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”

– United Nations

International Day of Friendship was created by the United Nations with “the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.” It has been celebrated on July 30, every year since 2011.

Not celebrating in America? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here is the name of the holiday in the other five official languages of the United Nations:

  • Arabic: اليوم الدولي للصداقة‎,
  • Chinese: 国际友谊日
  • French: Journée internationale de l’amitié
  • Russian: Международный день дружбы
  • Spanish: Dia del Amigo

In the US, Friendship Day was originally started by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, in 1930 and was originally held on August 2. The day was promoted by encouraging people to send cards to celebrate their friendships. However, it soon met with consumer resistance as many people saw it as an obvious gimmick to promote the sale of greeting cards. Not surprisingly, it’s popularity faded by the mid 1940’s.

The idea of a World Friendship Day was first proposed on July 30, 1958 by Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho at a dinner with friends. He was a surgeon from Paraguay who originally worked in rural areas of the country and later became a celebrated military doctor. He campaigned to create a special day to encourage world friendship from his core belief that friendship is the key to creating a more peaceful world.

Out of this humble meeting of friends, the World Friendship Crusade was born. The World Friendship Crusade is a foundation that promotes friendship and fellowship among all human beings, regardless of race or religion. Since then, July 30 has been faithfully celebrated as Friendship Day in Paraguay every year. It has since been adopted by several other countries.

The World Friendship Crusade lobbied the United Nations for many years to recognize World Friendship Day. The General Assembly eventually agreed to designate July 30 as the International Day of Friendship by inviting all member states to observe the holiday in accordance with the culture and customs of their national, local and regional communities, through education and events to raise public awareness.

Not being able to spend time in person with friends and family during this pandemic has reminded us just how valuable those relationships are. While free movement and contact between friends and family may still be limited for some time to come, thanks to technology and social media we can still connect with friends near and far. No matter how you celebrate, we can’t think of a better day to remind your friends how much they mean to you!