Friendship Day

Celebrated all around the world, Friendship Day is a holiday on which people celebrate the special bond between friends and reflect on the strength and power of their personal friendships. It was a holiday originally created by the greeting card industry as a marketing gimmick for them to sell more greeting cards.

However, that hasn’t stopped its popularity from growing year after year. While it wasn’t a holiday that was widely celebrated at first, over the years, it has gained momentum, and more people are celebrating it than ever before.

Nowadays, it’s a holiday that people celebrate by exchanging greetings, gifts, cards, flowers, or even wristbands. However, Friendship Day celebrations don’t have to be that complex.

Some people observe this holiday by simply sending their friends a text message expressing their affection for them and how fortunate they are to have them in their lives. In the United States and India, this holiday is celebrated on the first Sunday in August, but in other locations around the world, it can be celebrated on different days.

For example, in Colombia, it’s celebrated on the second Saturday of March, and in South Africa, it’s observed on the 16th of April.

The History of Friendship Day

The creation of Friendship Day has been attributed to the founder of Hallmark Cards, Joyce Hall, sometime during the 1920s. She envisioned this holiday as one that friends would observe on August 2nd to celebrate their personal friendship as well as the concept of friendship in general.

During this time period, it was aggressively marketed, not only by Hallmark but also by many members of the National Greeting Card Association. However, this marketing plan didn’t resonate well with consumers, as many of them viewed the day as an obvious gimmick to sell more greeting cards.

Few people saw the value of it as its own holiday, so for the next two decades, it kind of fell by the wayside. As a result of the lack of interest in this holiday, its popularity—and the cards associated with it—began to wane during the thirties. This continued up until WWII when the holiday all but disappeared in the United States.

However, as its popularity waned in the U.S., it began to gain traction in Asia and Europe. Its popularity soared in Asia, and some historians believe that it was this popularity that prevented the holiday from becoming completely obsolete. The U.S. rediscovered this “lost” holiday, and people began to celebrate it again during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In 2011, The General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30th as International Friendship Day. Although that day was officially earmarked for the holiday, many countries—particularly in Europe and Asia—choose to celebrate it on the first Sunday of August. Now, this day is celebrated by millions of people worldwide, which is quite remarkable considering that at one point, it was on the verge of extinction.

In Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain, this holiday is known as Friendship Day and is also referred to by some as Friend’s Day. In these countries, the holiday isn’t celebrated on the first Sunday in August but on the 20th of July. It’s a day for friends to greet each other warmly and, for some, an occasion to exchange gifts.

Observations, Celebrations & Traditions of Friendship Day

There is a seemingly endless array of ways for people to observe this holiday. They can take a hike or a walk with their friends, plan a movie night out, or throw a party. Friends can make bracelets for each other and then exchange them, or they can give each other gifts such as flowers, cards, or items that evoke nostalgia.

People can also use this holiday to reconnect with friends they haven’t seen in a while or have lost contact with. They can do this by using the hashtag #FriendshipDay on their social media accounts to give a shout-out to past and current friends.

The purpose of this holiday isn’t necessarily to spend money on gifts or cards for your friends. The purpose is to rekindle relationships with people you were once friends with or to strengthen the friendship with someone you’re currently close to.

That gives everyone a lot of freedom in how they want to observe this holiday. How will you observe it when the first Sunday of August comes around? Only you can decide.

Where is it celebrated?
When is it?
This year (2024)
August 4 Sunday
Next year (2025)
August 3 Sunday
Last year (2023)
August 6 Sunday
Relationships & Family