World Gratitude Day
annually on September 21st (since 1964)
Edna Fuerth Lemle on September 21st, 1964
Edna Fuerth Lemle of New York State attended a United Nations reception a few days before Thanksgiving Day in 1963. She asked the Ambassador from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) if the people of his country would celebrate Thanksgiving, and he said he didn't think they would adopt an American holiday. Inspired by this exchange and the Thanksgiving holiday, Lemle decided to come up with "a different date but the same feeling." Lemle chose September 21 as the date because of its proximity to an equinox. The seeds for World Gratitude Day had been planted.
On the day before Thanksgiving Day in 1964, Lemle hosted a banquet at Jefferson Hall at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She explained her proposed new holiday to the 90 or 100 attendees, saying she believed the spirit of America's Thanksgiving should be shared universally, and that the first observance of World Gratitude Day would be on September 21, 1965.
World Gratitude Day gives people the opportunity to offer gratitude, and reminds them that gratitude is an essential emotion that everyone should share. Lemle dedicated World Gratitude Day to "Worldhood," and wanted all people to have happy and positive emotions because of the day. Lemle made the following proclamation for the day:
Let it be a holiday for all peoples; a day of meditation for all religions; a day of dedication for all nations; a day of celebration for all humanity, shared simultaneously by the whole world. Let Gratitude Day be a day when all will feel the triumph of the spirit, and will share a universal thanksgiving.
In 1977, at the request of Lemle, the day began being supported by Sri Chinmoy, who was the leader of Peace Meditations at the United Nations, which he facilitated through the United Nations Meditation Group. Lemle presented Chimnoy with the World Gratitude Day Award in 1977, an award presented by the Board of Directors of World Gratitude Day to a person or organization they feel "has done something outstanding in the spirit of Globalism." That same year, Chinmoy wrote "World Gratitude Day," a song that was performed by the Meditation Group Choir. In the years since the day has been proclaimed in numerous states and countries, and the United Nations has sponsored festivities at the United Nations Plaza in New York City.
How to Observe World Gratitude Day
Some ways to participate in the day include:
- Give thanks and gratitude.
- Offer gratitude to others.
- Remind yourself and others that gratitude is an essential emotion that everyone should share.
- Check if any World Gratitude Day events are taking place in your community.
- Check if any World Gratitude Day events are being held at the United Nations Plaza in New York City.
- Learn and sing "World Gratitude Day."
- Learn more about Sri Chinmoy.