World Smile Day

World Smile Day is a day when people are encouraged to not only put a smile on the faces of their fellow humans but also to treat them to acts of kindness. This day is celebrated on the first Friday in October and has been officially celebrated since 1999.

Millions of people participate by putting smiles on the faces of their fellow human beings on this day, and there are many events held all over the United States and the world to celebrate this occasion.


The historical roots of this day can be traced back to Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1963. This is when a commercial artist named Harvey Ball created what would now be known as the smiley face—an image that had instant commercial success and quickly became recognizable around the world.

While Harvey Ball was pleased with the success of the smiley face, he was also concerned that its original meaning was being lost on the general public. It was this concern that inspired him to create World Smile Day. Harvey believed that the smiley face had no political, religious, or geographic limitations placed upon it.

He felt that people shouldn’t either, at least for one day of the year. So, he created this day as a time when people can be kind to each other and make each other smile. In 1999, he started the first-ever World Smile Day in Worcester, Massachusetts, and from there, it has spread throughout the world.

Customs, Traditions, and Celebrations

Ever since 2000, the Worcester Historical Society has thrown a ball to celebrate this day. At this ball, people enjoy various smiley-face-themed events and exhibits, and an award is given out to a deserving individual. This award is called the Harvey Ball Smile Award.

Other events in Worcester include hot air balloon races, sidewalk chalk art competitions, concerts, pie-eating contests, and circus performances. There is also usually the world’s largest smiley face on display for all to see.


This holiday is the perfect time of the year for people to perform acts of kindness for their friends, family, and coworkers. It’s an opportunity for participants to put a smile on the faces of their fellow humans and do their part to make the world a better place.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 4 Friday
Next year (2025)
October 3 Friday
Last year (2023)
October 6 Friday
Fun & Joy