International Friendship Day happens each year on July 30. Unlike Valentine’s Day, which is about romance and love, this holiday is about letting people know you are their friend and are glad to know them.
People often have best friends – BFFs, Best Friend Forever 🙂 – but also have other people they are friendly with, people they know at school or at work, for example.
Sometimes there are friends from the past that they haven’t seen or spoken to for a long time.
There are many ways that International Friendship Day can be celebrated. One way might be to phone or text a friend and say, “I’m glad we’re friends.” Another way might be to give a BFF a gift, such as a book they might like or candy or to write them a letter.
For some, the plan might be getting together for dinner or to watch a movie. Fun movies that feature friendship include The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz, Guardians of the Galaxy, Toy Story, The Iron Giant, and another giant movie, The BFG.
Another option might be doing something friendly for a stranger or someone you often see but have never spoken to. It might be something simple, like holding a door open or smiling or waving.
It could be a time to make new friends. Or say hi to someone who doesn’t seem to have any friends.
International Friendship Day is also a good time to say thank you to people, like a teacher or co-worker or boss or a person who serves you lunch. Or your mom or dad.
The history of this holiday is a bit crazy. Back in the 1920s, an organization called the Greeting Card National Association tried to start a special friendship day, but people thought it was a trick to get them to buy greeting cards, so the idea was a flop.
In 1930, a man named Joyce Hall, who had started a company called Hallmark Cards, tried to get a friendship day going, but, again, it wasn’t a great success. However, it slowly grew in popularity.
In other parts of the world, such as India and Asia, and parts of South America, the idea of a friendship day became very popular.
At first, Mr. Hall wanted Friendship Day to be on August 2. Then it was changed to the first Sunday in August. However, an organization called the World Friendship Crusade wanted the date to be July 30, and in 2011 they convinced the United Nations General Assembly to make that date International Friendship Day.
So July 30 is International Friendship Day, but here, the first Sunday in August (which this year is August 7) is National Friendship Day.
Little gifts that friends give each other are often called tokens of friendship. This is particularly true if a gift, itself, is about being friends. It could be something homemade, like a friendship bracelet. Or it could be something store-bought like a pair of rings, one saying peanut butter and the other saying jelly, meaning the two of us go together like two parts of a famous sandwich.
Or it might be a card that simply says BFF.
• In some countries – Spain, Paraguay, and Uruguay for example – people play a game called Amigo Invisible, which means Invisible Friend. Each person writes their name on a separate slip of paper, then everyone picks a slip. (If you pick your own name, you put it back and pick again.) You then buy little gifts and do nice things for the person you picked, but you don’t let them know who you are. You are their Amigo Invisible.
• If you miss both National Friendship Day and International Friendship Day, don’t worry. In the United States, the entire month of February is Friendship Month.
• Some organizations consider September to be Friendship Month.
• The truth is, any month and any day is a good time to be friendly.