“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”
— Woodrow Wilson
Take a few moments on Sunday August 5, to send a message of thanks to your friends! In the United States, the first Sunday of August has been designated National Friendship Day.
Here are some friendly facts to help you celebrate:
Friendship is universal. Anthropologists who study human cultural behavior understand that friendship is universal. That is, something we can recognize as friendship exists in all human societies throughout the world. However, in different societies people may make and keep friends in widely different ways.
Origins. Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, originally developed the idea of Friendship Day in 1930. Hall saw it as an opportunity for people to meet with their friends and exchange cards, flowers, and other gifts to honor their friendship. The reasoning behind Friendship Day was sincere. In the 1930’s, memories of World War I (1914-1918) were still fresh, while the international aggressions that would eventually lead to World War II (1939-1945) were just beginning. Friendship seemed more important than ever.
Hall’s idea became popular and spread. In 1935, the United States Congress proclaimed first Sunday of August to be a day in honor of friendship. Friendship Day was born!
Friends throughout the world. Today, many countries celebrate the first Sunday of August as Friendship Day. In 2011, the United Nations adopted a resolution that designated July 30 as International Friendship Day. The resolution was adopted to help forge a strong bond of friendship among people of different countries. The United Nations believes that friendship can help build understanding and dissolve mistrust among people of various countries and encourage global peace.
Friendship is healthy. Whether you have many friends or just one, friendship is good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and let you offer companionship too. People can form friendships any time in their life.
In different parts of the world, friends help each other by giving advice, sharing food, loaning money and tools, assisting with the planting and harvesting of crops, and defending each other in danger. But, an important aspect of friendship is that friends help each other because they simply care about a friend’s well-being.
Even animals have friendships. Friendship is not limited to humans! Scientists are studying whether other animals also have friendships. Since non-human animals cannot talk about their relationships, these studies must focus on how animals behave toward each other. For example, among chimpanzees and a few other animals, certain individuals prefer to spend time together. They help, protect, and groom each other and share food. These special relationships closely resemble friendships in humans.
Animal scientists know that sometimes animals find a friend from another species—a predator like a lion may occasionally become friends with prey species like an antelope. Koko, a lowland gorilla who became famous for her ability to learn American sign language, had a kitten for a friend. There are many stories on the internet and shared in social media of unusual animal friendships. But, such unusual friendships are not just novelties. Animal scientists are interested in these cross-species friendships because they can help them to understand the basis and dynamics of human relationships.
Learn more fascinating facts about the importance of friends and friendship at World Book’s World of Wisdom (WOW)!
Image Credit: © Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock