National Hug Day

National Hug Day is a holiday celebrated annually on January 21st. As its name implies, this holiday encourages people to hug one another. You can hug family members, friends, or even strangers if you want to—just be sure to ask for their permission first.

Hugging is not only a way for people to show affection to one another, but it also provides distinct health benefits to both parties involved. This is just another reason to celebrate this holiday and to give loved ones the hug they deserve.

National Hug Day History

According to popular sources, National Hug Day was first created by Kevin Zaborney in 1986. He chose January 21st for this holiday because it falls between the Christmas holidays and Valentine’s Day.

The main reason he decided to create this holiday was that he felt American society was too reserved about hugging or expressing feelings in public, so he created this day to hopefully help change that narrative.

Facts About Hugging

Many people think they know everything there is to know about hugging, but we’re here to challenge that assertion. We believe there are quite a few things about hugging that people aren’t aware of, and we know because we were quite surprised by some of the facts we uncovered during our research. So, let’s take a look at some amazing facts about hugging that we think everyone can appreciate.

  • Hugs release oxytocin—a hormone that promotes trust between individuals and helps alleviate depressive feelings.
  • Most people initiate their hugs by leading with their right arms.
  • A hug can increase self-esteem, defuse tension, and combat fear.
  • Hugging has been shown to lower a person’s blood pressure.
  • Cuddling with your significant other can help boost both parties’ immune systems.
  • Hugging also helps relieve pain—once again, thanks to the hormone oxytocin.
  • Cuddling increases dopamine, which helps strengthen a couple’s sexual desire for one another.
  • Hugging helps fight fatigue and may lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Hugging a person or even an inanimate object such as a teddy bear can help a person deal with stress and/or fear.
  • The average hug lasts approximately 3.17 seconds.
  • Hugging is at least 6,000 years old, if not older.
  • Humans are not the only animals that hug. Other animal species, such as monkeys, also hug one another.

Observing National Hug Day

If you want to observe this holiday, all you need to do is find someone to hug. This can be your significant other, a family member, a friend, or another willing participant. It’s also a good day to spread the message of this holiday by using the hashtag #NationalHugDay on all your social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 21 Sunday
Next year (2025)
January 21 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
January 21 Saturday
Relationships & Family