International Day of Happiness

Next Wednesday, 20 March 2024

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated around the world every year on March 20 . Its purpose is to bring focus to happiness, freedom, and well-being.

The United Nations consider these three as the ultimate goals of humankind.

According to the UN, these should be the purpose of every nation. It is only an observance in the United States, and such businesses and schools remain open. 

History of International Day of Happiness

In 2011, Jayme Illien, the CEO of Illien Global Public Benefit Corporation began a year-long, million-dollar campaign aimed at the United States Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

His purpose was to create a global day to celebrate the importance of happiness for people around the world. 

Illien had previously initiated a UN project in 2008 intending to have a worldwide day to spread awareness of the fact that happiness is a human right.

On June 28, 2012, resolution 66/281, authored by Illien, was accepted and adopted by all United Nations member states. 

Thus, the officially instating the International Day of Happiness as a day to be observed by countries worldwide. 

The first International Day of Happiness was celebrated on March 20, 2013.

Who was Jayme Illien?

Illien was an orphan who was rescued by a charity as a child and sent to live in the United States. As an adult, he dedicated his life to helping and rescuing abandoned children.

It gave him a strong awareness of the many issues that humans still faced. He realized that human happiness was not only a right for all but should be the ultimate goal that humankind should pursue to make this world a better place.

Thus, he set out to create a day that would bring awareness to his goal. 

Why do we celebrate the International Day of Happiness?

The purpose of creating this day was to recognize happiness as an essential part not just of people's well-being, but also of countries' public policy.

They believe happiness is the key to an inclusive approach to the nation's development and economic growth. 

This way of thinking was inspired by the country of Bhutan, which supposedly has the happiest citizens in the world.

Bhutan measures its national prosperity not by using the Gross National Product index, but rather the Gross National Happiness index.

This is because they believe that their country can only prosper if its citizens are happy with their lives and accomplishments. 

On this day the people of different countries participate in how their happiness impacts their global impression. This is done by linking their economic development with social and environmental wellbeing understanding. 

In 2009, the United States, inspired by Bhutan's GNH, adopted the Gallup Well-Being index to conduct a happiness survey with their citizens.

Their quality of life and happiness was assessed with questions that focus on the work environment, physical and mental health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic needs. 

International Happiness Day Themes 

Every year, the institution Action for Happiness coordinates events for the International Day of Happiness around the world. There is also a yearly theme for the day, Here are the themes from 2020-2022

Year Theme
2020 Happy Together
2021 Happiness For All, Forever
2022 Build Back Together

People are encouraged to celebrate this day by reflecting on what makes them happy, and how they can change the world through this. 

Others choose to celebrate by bringing happiness to others, donating to charity, or volunteering. 

International Day of Happiness
International Day of Happiness

International Day of Happiness - Next years

Thursday, 20 March 2025

Friday, 20 March 2026

Saturday, 20 March 2027

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