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International Friendship Day

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by Prakhar Saraswat (subscribe)
Happy reading. Prince !!
Image by D Sharon Pruitt (Wikimedia Commons)

"Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends." Mary Catherwood

When I was in India, this fun day (called First Sunday) was just like any other festival for us. However when I moved overseas, there was nothing which could make me feel as I did on Friendship Day back home.

Well, eventually I completely forgot about Friendship Day and probably that was because the RA (Luc Girard), had thrown a party just before the Friendship day as he was leaving. However around 1am (1st August) my best friend "Amby" from India called me and wished me well on Friendship Day, which was so touching and sweet of her.

Then I wished all my friends well, through the most common social site "Facebook," and shared lots of old memories. I started missing many of them. Finally two of the good friends I made in Melbourne came to my room "Sandeep Karuppuswamy" and "Krati Singh," and I hugged them and wished them well and then the chain started, we went to our new great RA "Taher Bharmal" and to my cute French gal "Olivia Garreau" and wished them well.

The strange thing for me was that this day is internationally celebrated, yet still people here don't know much about it. Then I explained to the French gal the significance of this fun and loving day back in India. Though she was a bit surprised, she was also curious.

This day is celebrated on the very first Sunday of August. Some of you must be wondering why on the first Sunday of August. Well, the answer was a mystery for me as well, until my best friend "Amby" read an article in a newspaper and told me this touching fact;

During the First World War in 1935, the U.S. government ordered for the hangings of some soldiers to be carried out on the first Saturday of August. The next day when one of the soldier's best friend came to know about his death, he couldn't take the pain and so in the memory of his friend, he committed suicide and on the First Sunday of the month.

As a result, the U.S. government decided to declare the First Sunday of August as a "National Friendship Day" in the U.S. Later on, the holiday caught on in other countries as a noble tradition, and in 1997 the United Nations even named A. A. Milne's fictional teddy bear, "Winnie the Pooh," as the World's Ambassador of Friendship. Since then, World Friendship Day is being celebrated every year on the first Sunday in the month of August.

I believe friendship is one of the most beautiful relationships which has evolved since the beginning of the human race. Other than immediate blood relations, friends are the most valued persons in one's life. The beautiful idea of celebrating Friendship Day was joyfully accepted by several other countries across the world. Today, many countries including India, celebrate the first Sunday of August as Friendship Day every year.

Celebrating Friendship Day in a traditional manner, people meet their friends and exchange cards and flowers to honour their friends. Many social and cultural organisations celebrate the occasion as well and mark Friendship Day by hosting programmes and get-togethers.

For ideas on how to celebrate International Friendship Day, please see here.
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Why? Honour your friends
When: August 7 is International Friendship Day for 2011
Where: Anywhere
Cost: As much or as little as you wish
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