National Hugging Day
Also known as
National Hug Day
annually on January 21st (since 1986)
Kevin Zaborney in 1986
National Hugging Day was started in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney, who also created National Whiner's Day. January 21st was chosen as the day since it falls halfway between the day between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day, and is a time of year when few people are in a good mood. Its popularity has spread from United States to countries around the world, leading some to suggest that the name of the day should be changed from "National" to "International." Hugging has many benefits. It releases oxytocin, which is a hormone associated with happiness. Similarly, it lowers cortisol levels, which alleviates stress and helps lower the heart rate. It also stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates the production of white blood cells and helps keep you healthy. Those are all good reasons to spend the day hugging!
How to Observe National Hugging Day
Celebrate the day by hugging friends and family members, or even strangers after letting them know about the day, and asking them if it is okay if you hug them. You could also substitute handshakes for hugs today. There are five main types of hugs you could use: the front hug, bear hug, cheek hug, side to side hug, and heart centered hug. You could also spend the day creating a hug chain with as many people as you can gather together.