What is Friendship Day And How Is It Celebrated?
By: Danni Peck
Updated August 21, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: 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.
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 dedicated to celebrating and public awareness raising 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 “Friendship Day” far more of an “International Friendship Day,”than a “National Friendship Day.”
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. Regional communities (including the U.S.) will often celebrate holidays on different days, making it difficult to know when, exactly, to celebrate Friendship Day.
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. Local, national, and international days of celebration often vary, but Friendship Day is one of the simplest and most entertaining examples of the differences upheld by different communities in accordance with the culture and norms associated with that community. Countries such as the U.S. might even use different celebration days among states and regional communities.
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 and increase public awareness via social media. While Friendship Day is often celebrated with a flower or friendship bracelet—something small—companies will still try to up sell their more expensive products, urging customers to spend a great deal of money on their friends as the only possible venue to express affection and love.
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, children, and grandparents. Raising awareness in communities (including through education) is typically seen as a far more preferable means of spreading the joy of Friendship Day, rather than relying upon the marketing campaigns of national food chains and stores. Education and public awareness are often increased for holidays such as Friendship Day through social media posting, local campaigns, and school or work programs. A workplace might, for instance, encourage employees to let their coworkers know how much their friendship means to them. A school may have an assignment focusing on friendship, along with a craft or project to be given to a trusted friend.
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; friends stick with you because they want to, rather than out of a sense 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 in any other kind of relationship. This is in part why, regardless of the customers of their local populations, many countries have some sort of celebratory day or recognition of friendship. Friends are important, and virtually every culture recognizes how vital friendship is for a healthy, vibrant, and fulfilling life.
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.
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, whether you do that on the 30th of July, as International Friendship Day is recognized, or the 1st Sunday of August, as the U.S. recognizes Friendship Day.
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." - BangambikiHabyarimana, 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
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, including through education, self-improvement, or professional mental health assessment? Contact us anytime, day or night, for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Is today National Friendship Day?
There are differing ideas as to the actual day dedicated to celebrating friendship; some identify the first Sunday in August as the yearly time for friendship celebration, while others identify July 30th as the international day devoted to celebrating friendship. If today happens to be the 30th of July, or the 2nd Sunday of August, it is possible it is National Friendship Day.
Which date is Happy Friendship Day?
National Friendship Day, according to some sources, is the first Sunday of August. This may only be the recognized date in the United States, however, as some sources identify July 30th as the official International Friendship Day.
Is friendship day happy?
For people who have rich and fulfilling friendships, friendship day is likely to be a happy day (if it is known about at all). People with rich friendships are more likely to experience a great deal of joy at the prospect of celebrating their friendships and the people closest to them, whether that means sending a large group text with a loving quote about friendship, or going to dinner with cherished friends to celebrate.
With that being said, friendship day may not be a happy day for everyone. People who do not consider themselves fulfilled in their friendships may struggle with friendship day, as might people who have close friendships, but are isolated from them, or in some way separated from the people they love most. Still others might find friendship day difficult after the loss of a close friend. Friends may be lost to death, a move, or even an argument. In these cases, friendship day can actually be a day to grieve or experience deep and ongoing pain.
What's celebrated today?
At the time of this writing, August 11th, today marks the celebration of two things: mountains, and sons and daughters. Mountain Day is on August 11th each year, and was started in Japan in 2014. The day was devoted to mountains as a celebration of the nation’s many peaks, and officially began serving as a national holiday in 2016. Although it is not recognized in many other countries, it can still serve as a wonderful reminder to take time to slow down and appreciate the natural wonders that are mountains and mountain ranges.
Sons and Daughters Day is also celebrated on August 11th, though the country that began this tradition differs from Mountain Day. The first recorded celebration of Sons and Daughters Day was in Canada in 1988, though one account suggested that some version of Sons and Daughters Day was celebrated in the United States as early as 1944 or 1945. Sons and Daughters Day is a day for parents to celebrate their children, whether that is through taking the day to spend time together, or through simply letting their children know how much they mean to them.
No matter the exact day, there is likely to be at least one holiday, remembrance, or celebration to be had, somewhere in the world. Many of these holidays or celebratory days are specific to certain countries and cultures, and many may not be recognized without intentionally seeking them out. Finding out what a given day is devoted to celebrating is often as simple as running a quick internet search, or asking when a certain person to item is celebrated.
Who celebrates friendship's day?
Friendship day is not considered a holiday on par with better-known occasions, such as Hanukah, Christmas, and other religious or family holidays, but is often celebrated by people who consider friendship a pivotal part of their lives. While most people have at least one person they consider a casual friend, there are people whose group of friends have actually come to mean as much to them (or more) than family. These are the people more likely to actively celebrate a holiday such as Friendship Day. Friendship Day can be celebrated by virtually anyone; while it is not a holiday that warrants a day off from work across the state or across the globe, or one that has its own unique set of marketing materials and themed cards, it is a holiday designed to celebrate the joys of friendship.
Friendship Day is a day to celebrate the people you dearly love. To celebrate, you may send out a nice image or text a heartfelt expression of gratitude to a single friend you adore, or you may host a party with the people you call friends, to celebrate the joy you find in bringing everyone you love together. No matter how you celebrate, or whom you celebrate with, Friendship Day is a day to recognize and celebrate people who make your life just a little bit better by being in it.
Is 30th July Friendship Day?
July 30th is the internationally recognized day to celebrate friendship, though the day may vary from individual country to individual country. In the United States, for instance, Friendship Day is typically celebrated on the first Sunday of August, rather than having a dedicated date. In either case, Friendship Day is not a holiday that prompts closures of any kind; Friendship Day is more in the vein of National Doughnut Day, or National Dog Day. It is a day designed to celebrate friendship, without causing a significant upset or alteration in day-to-day lives.