International Day of happiness

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2024 Date20 March 2024
2025 Date20 March 2025

International Day of Happiness

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International Day of Happiness History

The International Day of Happiness seeks to highlight the importance of happiness in the lives of individuals across the world. The purpose of this observance aligns with the general principle of prioritizing happiness as a fundamental human goal and promoting a holistic approach to economic growth that embodies human well-being and contentment. This day calls for international cooperation and understanding to foster happiness as a universal human right, emphasizing cultural, regional, and individual complexities.

The International Day of Happiness, first celebrated in 2013 and established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, bears particular relevance for South Africa, a country characterized by unique historical complexities and current socioeconomic conditions. One crucial aspect resonating with South Africans is the role that social, economic, and environmental wellbeing plays in fostering happiness. Encouraging social equality, fairness, and justice, particularly in a country striving to overcome its apartheid past and actualizing the ideals enshrined in its constitution, aligns squarely with the spirit of this day.

On the International Day of Happiness, various activities take place across South Africa to enhance awareness about the importance of happiness. People engage in charity work, community service, and social gatherings to promote happiness and cohesion. Regional and local events highlight the distinctly South African interpretation of happiness, showcasing our rich cultural heritage through music, dance, and other art forms. This observance is annually marked on the 20th of March, uniting South Africa with the rest of the world in promoting the far-reaching goal of collective happiness and wellbeing.

Facts about International Day of happiness

  • The theme for International Day of Happiness in 2024 was Reconnecting for Happiness: Building Resilient Communities. The theme in 2022 was Happiness For All, Ukraine.
  • According to the NPR, in 2023, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Studies on happiness in South Africa have found that wealth, although certain level of financial stability is essential for happiness, is not the most critical factor. Instead, factors such as quality of relationships, community involvement, health, and a sense of purpose or meaning are often more important for happiness.
  • In many South African cultures, a sense of community, belonging, and mutual support is crucial for happiness. The concept of "Ubuntu" which essentially refers to the notion that one’s humanity is intertwined with that of others, is firmly established in many South African societies.

Top things to do in South Africa for International Day of happiness

  • Make the effort to cross an item off of your bucket list. We all have dreams and goals and fulfilling them creates happiness and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Give to others. Whether it's donating to a charity of your choice, volunteering, or giving a thoughtful gift, studies have found that giving makes us happier.
  • Visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden - in Cape Town which is one of the great botanic gardens of the world. On the day of happiness, you can enjoy a happy picnic alongside the beautiful views.
  • Go on Happiness Walks – Just like in other countries, South Africans can organize walks or runs wherein participants can wear yellow (the official color of the day) and distribute happiness flyers to passersby.

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