When and Why Is the International Day of Happiness Celebrated?

The International Day of Happiness recognizes that happiness is an important human goal and right.

What Is the International Day of Happiness?

The International Day of Happiness is marked across the globe on March 20th every year. UN specialized advisor Jayme Illien advocated for the ratification of the Day and the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon endorsed the proposal. The resolution was unanimously adopted by 193 UN member countries as UN resolution 66/281 in June 2012.

Background of the International Day of Happiness

United Nations adviser Jayme Illien conceptualized the idea to establish the day. The organization passed the resolution with the aim of recognizing happiness as an important human goal and right. The first commemoration was marked on March 20, 2013. Since then, the day is celebrated by 193 UN member states, eleven territories, and two observer states. The first Day of happiness was launched by Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, and Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, during the TedXTeen conference in New York City. The 2nd commemoration in 2014 was promoted by the United Nations Foundation and Pharrell Williams. The “Happy” song was played for 24 hours while citizens across the globe were asked to make and share their happiness videos.

Although the International Happiness Day was adopted in 2012, humankind quest to identify happiness as an essential human right dates back several ages. Philosophers such as Socrates, Mencius, Aristotle, Plato, Confucius, and Epicurus, and religious leaders such as prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham all defined happiness and how to achieve it, and its role in living a meaningful life. The UN hosted the first delegation on Happiness and wellbeing on April 2, 2012. The conference involved delegates from over 30 countries organizations such as the OECD. The conference concluded that economic, environmental, and social well-being go hand and together define global happiness.

Why Is It Celebrated on March 20th?

The International Happiness Day was chosen to coincide with the March Equinox that occurs on March 20th every year. The Universal phenomenon is felt simultaneously across by all living things across the globe. March equinox occurs when the plane of Earth's equator cuts across the center of the Sun’s disk.


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