History of Friendship Day in US
Considering the valuable role friends play in our life it was deemed to fit to have a day dedicated to friends and friendship. The United States Congress, in 1935, proclaimed first Sunday of August as the National Friendship Day. Since then, celebration of National Friendship Day became an annual event. The noble idea of honoring the beautiful relationship of friendship caught on with the people and soon Friendship Day became a hugely popular festival.
Following the popularity and success of Friendship Day in US, several other countries adopted the tradition of dedicating a day to friends. Today, Friendship Day is enthusiastically celebrated by several countries across the world including India.
In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie – the Pooh as the world’s Ambassador of Friendship.
Importance of Friendship in Bible
The Bible, the primary text of the western civilization, reflects upon friendship as the bond that forms the foundation to human faith, trust and companionship. Following verses from the bible aptly portray the importance of friends:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Besides, there are several tales from the Old Testament and the New Testament about the value of friendship and how true friendship is a treasure to unearth. A noticeable point is that, both the versions make a difference between the two broad meanings of friendship- one is a mere acquaintance, the other is a more affectionate relation.
In the Old Testament, Abraham is called the “friend of God” because of the intimacy of his relations. God speaks to Moses face to face “as a man…unto his friend” (Ex 33:11). The romantic friendship of Ruth and Naomi, the devotion of the subordinate Hushai for David, or the mutual relation between David and Jonathan – the Old Testament is replete with these interesting tales of friends and friendship.
In the New Testament, the relationship between Jesus and his disciples clearly depicts how human friendship can constantly grow. From being teacher and disciple, to lord and servant their relationship finally grew to an unparalleled friendship.
Importance of Friendship in Mahabharata
In the famous Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’, Lord Krishna demonstrates the many colors of friendship – affection, romance, brotherhood, protection, guidance, intimacy and even teasing. Friendship is all about these and much more.
Friendship Day in India
Friendship Day has come to be celebrated in a big way in India. The noble idea of honoring friends and friendship has really caught on with the youth in India and one can see the festival being enthusiastically celebrated by the youth especially, students.
Day Dedicated to Friends
In tune with the spirit of the occasion, people dedicate Friendship Day festival to their best friends. Most choose to celebrate the entire day in the loving company of their dearest friends. Recollecting sweet memories of the time spent together and catching up with their lives over a cup of coffee is the idea of ideal Friendship Day celebration for many.
Friends separated by geographical distances, call up their friends to express love and warmth for each other and to wish a “Happy Friendship Day”. With more and more people getting hooked to the net, many people also choose to chat with their friends with the help of Internet. Sending SMS and Friendship Day e-cards is another popular way of greetings friends.
Friendship Day Celebrations in Schools and Colleges
Friendship Day celebrations are particularly marked in schools and colleges in India. Euphoria of the day sets in days before the festival as everybody gets excited to wish their best friends in their own special way. Children make Friendship Day Cards or other special gift to thank their friends for their wonderful presence in their life. Exchange of Friendship Bands is the other most prominent feature of Friendship Day celebrations. Friends vie with each other as to who gets the most stylish band or who gets the maximum number of bands.
In several colleges, special programs are also organized to mark the occasion. Most of these programs and events intend to give youth an opportunity to dance and sing with friends and have a good time.
Friendship Day Parties
Following their counterparts in the west, youth in India too mark Friendship Day by participating in Friendship Day parties or organizing bashes for their friends. Major crowd for Friendship Day can be seen in discotheques and pubs where people dance with friends on fast pace music and cherish the loving company of their pals. Such parties also give youth a chance to make new friends and widen their friendship circle. At present such bashes are more popular in metros and other big cities, however, youth in small towns too are warming up to the idea of partying on Friendship Day.
Commercialization of Friendship Day
Just as in US and several other countries, Friendship Day has been commercialized to a great extent in India. Days before the festival, gift marketers run an extensive campaign to lure the people to buy cards and gifts for their friends. Restaurateurs too try to entice people by offering special discounts or holding bashes. Several people criticize such excessive campaigning. They feel commercialization has marred to the idea behind observing Friendship Day and has turned it into a mere formality. Some people however feel that advertising campaign has helped to generate awareness about Friendship Day festival and the idea of having a day dedicated to friends.