Friendship Day in India is a day dedicated in the honor of friends and friendship. Although it has been celebrated for many years in certain countries of South America, especially in Paraguay, the concept is fairly new in India, and it has found strong roots among the youths of the country in particular.
Evidence shows that the influence of the world of the web has direct impact on spreading awareness about this event, and, as such, this event is more popular in the urban areas as compared to the rural or suburban places.
Digital communication modes and the Social Media furthered what was founded by the Greeting Card and Gifting companies. The popular traditions include exchanging wrist bands, small gift items, cards, flowers or chocolates. Although there is a different date set aside for International Friendship Day, in India it is celebrated on the first Sunday of the month of August.
Background of Friendship Day:
Friendship Day is often celebrated on a different day in different countries. The fWorld Friendship Day was proposed for the first time on 30th of July 1958. However, it was only in the year 2011 on the 27th day of April that the General Assembly of the United Nations declared the date to be the official International Friendship Day. However some countries like India celebrate the occasion on the first Sunday of the month of August. In Oberlin, Ohio, 8th of April each year is honored as the Friendship Day.
That a day needs to be identified for celebrating the bonds of friendship was first promoted by Joyce Hall who was the founder of Hallmark cards. In 1930 he intended to mark the day of 2nd August as Friendship Day when people would send cards to friends to mark their friendship. He carefully chose the date of 2nd August since that was in the middle of the lull period between two holiday celebrations. Although Friendship Day was promoted earlier in the 1920s by the Nation Association of Greeting Cards, the movement met with resistance from the consumers who refused to be influenced by this obvious gimmick to sell more cards. By the 1940s this trend dwindled in the USA. In Europe there is no evidence of such uprising, although many Asian countries have adopted this.
Friendship Day in India
The idea to promote a date as The World Friendship Day was first proposed by Dr. Artemio Bracho on the 20th day of July 1958 while he was having dinner with his friends in Puerto Pinasco, a town in Paraguay. From the cozy dinner between friends was born the World Friendship Crusade that aimed to promote friendship and fellowship between all human beings without any discrimination of race, color or religion. Since then Paraguay has celebrated 30th of July each year as Friendship Day, which was adopted in several other countries too later. The World Friendship Crusade was also responsible for lobbying in the United States to designate July 30 as the International Day of Friendship.
In 1998, Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, backed by the U.N. Department of Public Information and Disney Enterprises, proposed to have Winnie the Pooh to be the Ambassador of Friendship at the UN. This was co hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford. Finally on 27th July 2011 the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly declared that July 30 would be designated as the “International Day of Friendship”. However, many countries including India have adopted the custom of celebrating this day on the first Sunday of August.
Date of Friendship Day in the Next Five Years:
In India, Friendship Day is celebrated in accordance with the prevalent customs in the United States of America, and also in the United Kingdom on the first Sunday of the month of August, each year.
Public life on Friendship Day in India:
Although the celebrations of Friendship Day have caught up with people in India, there is no change in public life in India. All retails and businesses are open on this day. Public transportation system operates normally on this day. The only hitch that a person may face is a high waiting time in certain places like restaurants, theatres etc. The day is mainly celebrated by connecting and spending time with friends and exchanging small gifts.
Celebrations in India:
The idea of dedicating one day to friends and friendship has caught up in India, especially among the youth. From weeks earlier commercials lure people to buy gifts and cards for their friends to mark the occasion. Restaurants, spas, salons etc mark special discounts to ring up their sale. Even some retailers give out discounts on small gift items like perfumes, toys, toiletries, stationeries etc. Some clubs and restaurants also organize for Friendship Day parties to make the event full of fun and excitement.
Those who celebrate this occasion in India mostly spend the day in company of their friends getting nostalgic about sweet memories they have shared that have made their bonding so beautiful, and also catching up about the latest on the block. Apart from that, the era of digital communication has made long distance friendship more expressive as there are plethora of e-card, SMS and similar other options to reach out to one’s friend on this day. In some schools and colleges the day is celebrated by organizing fun games or shows. There is also a custom of exchanging friendship band on this day. Apart from that, some people also share small gifts like chocolates or flowers or greeting cards to mark the occasion.