International Day of Friendship: Date, History, Traditions & Activities

July 18, 2022 7 min read

Our world faces several problems, crises, and divisive forces, including poverty, violence, and human rights violations, among others, that undermine peace, security, development, and social harmony among the world's peoples. 

To address these problems and challenges, the underlying causes must be addressed by developing and preserving a common sense of human solidarity, which can take many forms, the most basic of which is friendship. 

We can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust.

1. What is the Date of International Day of Friendship? 

International Day of Friendship was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (U.N.). On July 30, we step back and get thankful for these relationships worldwide, as they promote and encourage peace, happiness, and unity. 

The U.N. encourages governments, community groups, and other organizations to coordinate activities and events that celebrate the friendships that we keep close to us. Many events focus on reconciliation, bridging understanding and consensus, and finding comfort in those friendships that feel like home.

2. International Day of Friendship History 

The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Friendship in 2011 with the belief that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace initiatives and build bridges between communities.

The resolution emphasizes the need of incorporating young people as future leaders in community activities that promote international knowledge and respect for diversity.

To commemorate the International Day of Friendship, the United Nations encourages governments, international organizations, and civil society groups to hold events, activities, and initiatives that contribute to the international community's efforts to promote civilizational dialogue, solidarity, mutual understanding, and reconciliation.

The International Day of Friendship is an initiative that builds on UNESCO's proposal to define the Culture of Peace as a collection of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that reject violence and strive to prevent conflicts by addressing their core causes in order to solve problems. The UN General Assembly then approved it in 1997.

International days and weeks are opportunities to educate the public about pressing concerns, organize political will and resources to address global issues, and celebrate and reinforce humanity's achievements. International days precede the formation of the United Nations, but they have been adopted as a potent lobbying tool by the UN. Other UN observances are also observed.

3. International Day of Friendship Traditions

Friendship is celebrated on International Day of Friendship by honoring those who are there for us, call us out on our stubbornness, sacrifice their time for us when everyone else is busy adulting, show up in the middle of the night to cheer us up, and even long-distance friends whose friendship has endured across borders.

Everyone interprets friendship differently. And the friendship bond varies as well. People we have known for a long time may not be close to us, yet someone we have only known for a short time may be our best friend. This is why everyone's rituals and celebrations are unique. 

There are simple ways to commemorate the day, such as simply hanging out with friends and doing our "thing," as well as more complex methods, such as holding parties, exchanging gifts, and expressing how important they are in our lives. Another typical habit on International Day of Friendship is to reach out and reconnect with friends we haven't seen in a long time.

4. International Day of Friendship Activities

Talk about what makes someone a friend

When we hear the word "friend," we often envision someone in our minds. But when was the last time we actually considered what it meant? To begin, ask your children what characteristics make someone a good friend.

Make a garden of friendship

A garden can be a fantastic metaphor for friendship. It takes time and a combination of "ingredients" for a flower to bloom. Friendship requires trust, kindness, helpfulness, and more than water, soil, and sunshine. If you've asked your children to write down their ideas about what makes a friend, transform their words into a fun craft project. 

Each aspect of friendship is represented by a petal; when the petals are joined... presto! A lovely blossom! These final flowers can be displayed on a bulletin board or used as decorations in your yard. You might even offer the flowers to a friend.

Make up a poem on friendship

Poetry is another activity that can help your children reflect on the significance of friendship at home or in the classroom.Encourage your youngsters to try out different poetry. Use the word "FRIEND" in a haiku, kenning, free verse, or even an acrostic poem. 

You might provide some friendship quotations to your students as inspiration as they write their poetry. "Lots of people want to go with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down," Oprah Winfrey famously observed.

Yes, friends are wonderful

Sending messages of encouragement and/or thanks to friends is one of the most popular International Day of Friendship activities. In fact, if you look around a card store, you'll undoubtedly find a number of items designated for this occasion

Read stories and tell them to your pals

Reading together is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. It's also a fantastic hobby to do if you need some quiet time during the day or week. It's just about being in the company of pals, whether you want to snuggle up and listen to an audiobook, make up a funny story together and share with family, or share a picture book.

Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Being compassionate is merely one of many aspects of friendship. And there are numerous methods to show kindness. While every day is an excellent day to be kind, International Day of Friendship allows us to pause and think on how to be kind and a good friend. 

Perhaps you can contact a friend or neighbor you haven't spoken with in a while and let them know you're thinking about them. You may draw a picture with a lovely note and deliver it to someone. Even small gestures like opening the door for someone or assisting someone across the street can make someone's day.

Make a friendship bracelet or band

My family and I went camping a few weeks ago. My daughter met another small girl while we were there. They rapidly become close pals. They played games, painted rocks, and toasted marshmallows, laughing that s'mores were out of the question since a squirrel had thought the graham crackers were too good to pass up. 

Today I asked her what she recalled about the camping vacation. It's not the treks or the beach bathing. It's her pal. And with that response, my daughter proudly displayed the friendship bracelet she and her friends had made at the campsite (and has not taken off since).

Make a quilt of friendship

Friendship quilts have been around since the early 1800s. Personalized notes would be added to fabric squares by family and friends. These would then be put together to form a patchwork commemorating noteworthy occurrences. 

Quilts were often presented as a sign of remembrance to others when loved ones relocated far away. While friendship quilts are no longer as popular as they once were, they can still be a pleasant way to commemorate International Day of Friendship. All you need are a few scraps of fabric, thread, and needles. 

You can sew in a group or have pals sew their own squares before sewing everything together at once. When the quilt is finished, some people may arrange signing parties so that everyone can sign their names at the same time. Just make sure the ink doesn't run in the wash before everyone signs the fabric. 

It doesn't have to be a big one. A lap quilt or a modest wall-hanging quilt will be equally special. Sewing is also a great skill for children and adults of all ages. Young children can assist in fabric selection, while older children can experiment with different stitching techniques. When the quilt is finished, sign it and give it to your friend.

Make a friendship journal

This can be done in the classroom or at home. A friendship book combines elements of a journal, a scrapbook, and a yearbook. There are no restrictions on how you design your friendship book or what you include in it. The idea is just to develop something that can encompass your friendship's story. 

To begin, you can either construct a book from scratch or buy a blank diary. Older children can have fun designing their book by adding pockets, tying on friendship charms, drawing artwork, and so on. Younger children can decorate their books with drawings and stickers. 

Children can insert images, write memorable anecdotes, highlight anniversaries and other occasions, and even write a recipe about what makes their friendship special inside the book. The book is then handed around among friends, with each adding details about themselves and what makes their friendship so important. When this book is finished, it's time to start another!

Begin a friendship letter or create a video with encouraging messages

This was a nice initiative begun by one of my daughter's third-grade teacher's moms. While the schools were closed, the students scribbled encouraging messages and then shared them in photos or videos. After gathering all of the photographs and videos, they were edited into a short video. This movie was then distributed to every student in the class. 

It was a lovely keepsake during a period when we couldn't see our pals in person. It's also fascinating to watch the film a year later to see how much the kids have changed. This concept is akin to pen buddy correspondence. While the origins of pen buddy letters are unknown, the goal remains the same: to foster connections. Handwritten letters and emails are the most common types of pen pal letters. Many people prefer the former.

"Personal letters in your mailbox are definitely better than bills," writer Sonnia Jean Kammar said of pen pal letters.

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