Friend may be someone we met as a child, a classmate at school, someone we met at work or through other friends, friend can be older or younger than us, can be from different religion, race, gender, and that is completely irrelevant. What matters is how our friends make us feel, how much do we enjoy spending time with them, how honest we are with them.
Whoever they are, however we met them, there is a special connection based on a shared history and interests, enjoying doing things together, talking and understanding each other. Friends are there to help us at difficult times and to celebrate the good times. Friends are there to support and give advises to us. Doctors say that friends are very important for both our physical and mental health at all stages in life.
But friends are not only important on an individual level. Friendship can also be important on a global level. International friends can help bring peace and avoid war. Learning to think of other people, people who are different from us, as our friends helps us work together to build a culture of peace. That’s why the UN declared 30 July as its official International Day of Friendship.
An international day of friendship was first suggested by the World Friendship Crusade. This organisation was founded in Puerto Pinasco, Paraguay, back in 1958. They wanted to support the power and importance of friendship and in creating a culture of peace.
So, in the same year, they decided to celebrate Friendship Week in Puerto Pinasco and other places in Paraguay. The following year, they repeated the week and finished on 30 July, which they declared as Friendship Day. From there, celebrations of friendship grew and spread across the Americas, then the world, and eventually the UN declared an International Day of Friendship in 2011.
The International Day of Friendship on 30 July is not the only day celebrating friendship around the world. A number of countries, such as Paraguay, also celebrate on 30 July, but other countries have different dates. For example, Argentina, Brazil and Spain celebrate Friend’s Day on 20 July, while in India and the US, they celebrate it on the first Sunday in August. In Finland and Estonia, Friendship Day is celebrated on the same day as Valentine’s Day, 14 February.
Whenever it is celebrated, the spirit is always the same- to remember the importance of friends and the power of friendship. Let’s take a moment to appreciate our friends and everything they do for us. Let’s take a moment to reflect on our life and realize how maintaining a friendship helped us dealing with all the difficult times, and let’s be grateful for it.