Friendship Day

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Friendship Day
Tying friendship bracelet.jpg
Type Historical
Date varies: 30 July (UN), first Sunday of August
Frequency annual
Related to Friendship

Friendship Day (Arabic: اليوم الدولي للصداقة‎, Chinese: 国际友谊日, French: Journée internationale de l’amitié, Russian: Международный день дружбы, Spanish: Día del Amigo,) 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 - International 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 cell phones may be helping to popularize the custom, since greeting friends en masse is now easier than before.

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Those who promote the holiday in South Asia attribute the tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends to have originated in the United States 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.[1][2]

Friendship Day celebrations occur on different dates in different countries. The first World Friendship Day was proposed for 30 July in 1958, by the World Friendship Crusade.[3] On 27 April 2011 the General Assembly of the United Nations declared[4] 30 July as official International Friendship Day. However, some countries, including India[5], celebrate Friendship Day on the first Sunday of August. In Oberlin, Ohio, Friendship Day is celebrated on 8 April each year.[6]


Friendship Day was originated by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards in 1930, intended to be 2 August and a day when people celebrated their friendships by holiday celebrations. Friendship Day was promoted by the greeting card National Association during the 1920s but met with consumer resistance - given that it was too obviously a commercial gimmick to promote greetings cards. By the 1940s the number of Friendship Day cards available in the US by 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 have adopted it.

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.

Some friends acknowledge each other with exchanges of gifts and cards on this day. Friendship bands are very popular in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and parts of South America.[1] With the advent of social networking sites, Friendship Day is also being celebrated online.[2] The commercialization of the Friendship Day celebrations has led to some dismissing it as a "marketing gimmick". But nowadays it is celebrated on the first Sunday of August rather than 30 July. However, on 27 July 2011 the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly declared 30 July as "International Day of Friendship".[7]

The idea of a World Friendship Day was first proposed on 20 July 1958 by Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho during a dinner with friends in Puerto Pinasco, a town on the River Paraguay about 200 miles north of Asuncion, Paraguay.[8]

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, color or religion. Since then, 30 July has been faithfully celebrated as Friendship Day in Paraguay every year and has also been adopted by several other countries.[9]

The World Friendship Crusade has lobbied the United Nations for many years to recognise 30 July as World Friendship Day and finally on 20 May, General Assembly of the United Nations decided to designate 30 July as the International Day of Friendship; and to invite all Member States to observe the International Day of Friendship in accordance with the culture and customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.[7]

United States and India

On the first Sunday of August, USA and India celebrate Friendship Day.


In Argentina, Friend's Day, on 20 July, is an excuse for a friendly gathering and greeting both current and old friends. Since it is not an Argentine public holiday, people tend to gather during the evening.

Friend's Day has in recent years turned into a very popular mass phenomenon. In 2005, the amount of well-wishing friends led breakdown of the mobile phone network in the cities of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario, comparable to the one experienced in 2004 on Christmas and New Year's Day. Seats in most restaurants, bars, and other establishments are often completely booked a week before the celebration.

Since the death of the Argentine cartoonist and writer Roberto Fontanarrosa in 2007, a proposal has existed to change the date to 19 July, the day of his death.[10][11]


In Brazil, Friend's Day is also celebrated on 20 July.[12]

Finland and Estonia

In Finland and Estonia Valentine's Day is celebrated as Friend's Day.


In Paraguay, the eve of 30 July is used for giving presents to close friends and loved ones, and celebrations are a common sight in bars and nightclubs. The game of the Invisible Friend (Amigo Invisible) is considered a tradition, in which small sheets of paper with names are given to all members of a group, each of them secretly selects one, and on 30 July gives a present to the person on the paper. This custom is practiced in both schools and workplaces in Asunción and other Paraguayan cities.


Since 2009, Peru celebrates "El dia del Amigo" on the first Saturday in July. This day was proposed by Pilsen Callao. The objective was to recognize true friendship and differentiate its celebration from Valentine's Day.


  1. ^ a b "A band for ties of friendship". The Times of India. New Delhi. 30 June 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Bose, Antara (1 August 2009). "Flavours of friendship". The Telegraph. Calcutta. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Official blog of the World Crusade of Friendship
  4. ^ Declaration of International Day of Friendship. Declaration of Day of Friendship Under Agenda no 15, Culture of Peace
  5. ^ In India the Friendship Day will be celebrated on May 18,2011. In India the Friendship Day will be celebrated on 7 August 2011
  6. ^ "Friendship Initiative". Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b UN Res.A/65/L.72
  8. ^ "ONU aprobó 30 de julio como Día de la Amistad". Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Munro, Robert, ed. (2010). Paraguay 200 Years of Independence in the Heart of South America. Oxford: Whap. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-9567405-1-9. 
  10. ^ "Gran polémica gran: proponen adelantar el Día del Amigo en homenaje al Negro Fontanarrosa" [Grand controversy grand: they propose to advance Friend's Day in honor of Fontanarrosa]. (in Spanish). 19 July 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2011. En la actualidad, muchos "Canallas" bloggeros proponen a través de la web que sea el sábado 19 el día para celebrar el Día del Amigo en conmemoración a la muerte del dibujante, humorista y célebre escritor que dedicó miles de diálogos a la amistad entre Mendieta e Inodoro Pereyra, Roberto Fontanarosa. 
  11. ^ "El Día del Amigo ya tiene su previa en Internet" [Friend's Day already has a preview on the Internet]. Clarín (in Spanish). Buenos Aires. 18 July 2008. Retrieved 25 December 2011. Como si todo esto fuera poco, el usuario Pola91 creó un blog destinado exclusivamente a exigir que se cambie la fecha del Día del Amigo al 19 de julio, para recordar la partida del genial humorista gráfico y escritor Roberto "El Negro" Fontanarrosa. 
  12. ^ BRAZIL, Câmara dos Deputados. Datas Comemorativas. March 2003.


  • Schmidt, E.L. (1991). "The Commercialisation of the Calendar: American Holidays and the Culture of Consumption, 1870-1930". The Journal of American History. 78 (. 3): 887–916.  [UN Resolution A/65/L.72]
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