What is Friendship Day And How Is It Celebrated?

By Danni Peck

Updated December 21, 2018

Reviewer Prudence Hatchett, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH

Have you ever been in a situation where someone said "happy friendship day!", and you thought to yourself: "What the heck is a 'friendship day'?" Well, Friendship Day is exactly what it sounds like: a day for celebrating your friendships.

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The History Of Friendship Day

The concept of a national friendship day was created back in 1930 by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc. You're probably thinking "oh, so this is just another one of those holidays that was created for the sole purpose of selling more greeting cards," and you're not alone. In fact, the greeting card National Association had initially tried to promote the idea of Friendship Day back in the 1920s, but customers were not buying it, saying it was too obvious a gimmick.

While some people in the U.S. acknowledge Friendship Day, the idea has largely died here. Social media has revived the holiday a bit, though, as people enjoy sharing friendship day images with each other on sites like Instagram and Twitter. As for friendship day videos, Facebook and Pinterest are also popular sites for sharing a moving image of friendship day with one's friends.

The holiday is a bigger hit in Asia, India, and parts of South America than it ever was in the United States, making it more of an International Friendship Day, rather than a national one.

When Is Friendship Day?

The official date of Friendship Day is as controversial as its inception. Initially, Hall had intended for the holiday to be celebrated on August 2. Then, for a while, the date was changed to the first Sunday in August. However, the World Friendship Crusade tried for years to convince the United Nations to change the date to July 30. Finally, on July 27, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly acquiesced, making July 30 the official date of Friendship Day.

Despite this, however, the date has still changed from year to year in the U.S. For instance, Friendship Day 2016 was celebrated on Sunday, August 7, whereas Friendship Day 2017 was celebrated on August 6. When comparing National Friendship Day 2016 and National Friendship Day 2017, it's easy to see that the idea of celebrating Friendship Day on the first Sunday in August, as opposed to celebrating it on one set date, is the lay of the land in the U.S.

Ready to be even more confused? The entire month of February in the U.S. has been declared Friendship Month. So, while we may celebrate friendship on one day in August, we can also choose to celebrate it for the entire month of February.

How People Celebrate Friendship Day

Days before Friendship Day every year, companies roll out their advertising campaigns which are usually geared toward the younger demographic, as teenagers and young adults are more likely to embrace the spirit of the holiday. While Friendship Day is often celebrated with a flower or friendship bracelet, something small, companies will still try to upsell their more expensive products.

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Restaurants may offer discounts on gift certificates, as might other local vendors. However, instead of these companies' gestures being appreciated, they often backfire, as some people feel they are blatantly commercializing a holiday that is otherwise meant to be more low-key, like Father's Day or Mother's Day.

Some folks, however, love the idea of hyping up the holiday. Such attention, they feel, can raise awareness of the holiday and perhaps encourage more people to participate in taking one day to honor their friends just the same as they would their mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

Interesting Facts About Friendship Day

The idea of friendship has been around for thousands of years. Sometimes, friendship can be even more fulfilling than a familial or intimate relationship. This is because friends aren't forced to be with you, sticking with you because they want to, rather than out of obligation. Because of this, friends may be able to provide you with better support and understanding, clearer communication, and a level of loyalty that is positively unmatched.

Here are some neat facts about Friendship Day that encourage those who celebrate it to keep doing so in honor of their friends:

  • Those who celebrate Friendship Day like to do so by exchanging small trinkets as gifts, like wristbands, flowers, or cards. This is a sweet way to acknowledge a friend by promoting a quiet gesture, rather than a grandiose display like that which may be seen on Valentine's Day.
  • The Beatles' song "With a Little Help from My Friends" was released in 1967 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of International Friendship Day.
  • In 1998, Winnie the Pooh was declared the official ambassador of Friendship Day by Nane Annan, the wife of Kofi Annan, who was the UN Secretary General at the time.
  • In 1999 in Memphis, Tennessee, the Kappa Delta Sorority put a new spin on Friendship Day by initiating National Women's Friendship Day, which is celebrated on the third Sunday in September to recognize specifically a woman's female friends.
  • Studies have shown that friends are a great form of stress relief. When a person has healthy friendships, he or she is less likely to succumb to illness and disease or, conversely, is more likely to heal faster when he or she does get sick.

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Happy Quotes About Friendship

If you are one of those folks who are interested in celebrating Friendship Day, perhaps you might be interested in finding the perfect Friendship Day quote to post to your friends' social media profiles.

Here are some great quotes about friendship that you might consider incorporating into your next post or even as an insert in a Friendship Day card:

"Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses." - Ann Landers

"Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness." - Euripides

"The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when." - Simon Sinek

Sad And Angry Quotes About Friendship

Ifyou are coping with the end of friendship on Friendship Day, then the very holiday itself can make you bitter. Of course, you can feel free to express your discontent on social media as well. Here are some quotes about a friendship that once was sweet but has since gone sour:

"Depth of friendship does not depend on the length of acquaintance." - Rabindranath Tagore

"To be of good quality, you have to excuse yourself from the presence of shallow and callow minded individuals." - Michael Bassey Johnson

"If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself." - Aesop, Aesop's Fables

"A bad friend is worse than an enemy, an enemy you can see and avoid, but to detect an insincere friend is hard." - Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

Quotes About Missing A Friend

Perhaps you have a really good friend, but you haven't seen him or her in a long time. Friendship Day may be a great way to show that friend just how much he or she means to you. Consider putting one of the following quotes about missing your friend on their profile or in a nice card:

"When I miss you, sometimes I listen to music or look at pictures of you, not to remind me of you but to make me feel as if I'm with you. It makes me forget the distance and capture you." - LeBron James

"Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it's one day further from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will." - Unknown

"If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden." - Claudia Grandi

"Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget." - Unknown

"Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean 'I'll miss you until we meet again.'" - Unknown

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Quotes About The Death Of A Friend

Friendship Day may be especially difficult for those who are dealing with the death of a close friend. Death is one of the hardest things to go through because it is often difficult to find the right words to express how you are feeling. In this regard, quotes can be immensely helpful. You can memorialize your close friend with a quote in a card to his or her family, or as a post on your online profile. Here are some quotes you may wish to use:

"Can miles truly separate you from friends… If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?" - Richard Bach

"If you should die before me, ask if you can bring a friend." - Stone Temple Pilots

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them." - Unknown

"When our friends are alive, we see the good qualities they lack; dead; we remember only those they possessed." - Jean Antoine Petit-Senn

Interesting in learning more about Friendship Day? Contact us anytime, day or night, for more information.


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