World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday of October and was first celebrated in 1999. It is a day for trying to smile more often, for feeling good and perhaps making other people smile through acts of kindness. So forget all about your worries and differences, and dedicate this whole day to smiling and being happy!
We are all familiar with the smiley face symbol, it has become an essential part of how we communicate with others.
It was Harvey Ball, an artist, and designer from Massachusetts, who created the smiley face in 1963. The symbol quickly grew in popularity, and everyone was using it to communicate, in ad campaigns, and on television. The smiley face was everywhere. It wasn't long until the image spread through the world, and there wasn't one person who didn't recognize it.
This rise in popularity concerned Harvey Ball, who didn't want his creation to be too commercialized. That took away from his original intention when he created the smiley face: to have an image that symbolized cheerfulness and kindness. To stop that from happening, Ball came up with the idea for World Smile Day in 1999. He wanted people to dedicate at least one day out of the year to being kind to each other and exchanging smiles with everyone, regardless of politics, religion, or differing opinions. After he died in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation took over the organization of this day.
The science of smiling
There is scientific evidence that just taking a moment to stop and smile can instantly make you feel better. Smiling releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that make you feel pleasure. This can happen even when you smile for no reason, as the same messages get sent to the brain triggering a feeling of happiness, which then triggers you to smile even more! And making other people smile has the same effect since helping others makes you feel happier. So share a few smiles today!
Smiling is often described as contagious, and this is true. People naturally imitate the faces of those around them, it is the same instinct that allows us to empathize and experience what others are feeling. So if you smile you will find that other people around you, either consciously or subconsciously, will also start smiling.
What to do on World Smile Day
Today is all about doing things that will make you feel good but are also kind to others. You can do this by trying to make other people smile, whether it is your friends and family or a complete stranger, by telling them a joke or doing a random act of kindness for them.
If you live near Worcester, Massachusetts, the home of the smiley face, you can attend one of the events that the World Smile Foundation organizes.
Smiling in Songs
Smiling has often been the topic of songs, in fact, some of the most famous songs have the word 'smile' or 'smiling' in the title, here are a few examples:
- A Certain Smile - Famously sung by Johnny Mathis, written by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster. It featured in the film 'A Certain Smile' in 1958.
- Smile - Charlie Chaplin wrote the music for this song in 1936 for his film Modern Times. Eighteen years later the lyrics were added.
- Can't Smile Without You - This song was most famously sung by Barry Manilow who sang it in 1978 when it reached number 1. on the Billboard Easy Listening chart.
- U Smile - Justin Bieber released this single with the second part of his first album 'My World 2.0'
- When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You) - A famous jazz classic, performed by many artists such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day. Perhaps the best-known version of this song is Louis Armstrong's recording from 1929.