World Gratitude Day is celebrated annually on the 21st of September, encouraging individuals and organizations to celebrate the broad meaning of gratitude. From the perspective of Humanism, gratitude is a ubiquitous human emotion or state of awareness shared by those of all faith and non-faith perspectives; the habit of routine thoughtfulness and mindful living includes creating meaningful, personal traditions to honor others and ourselves.
The celebration began in 1965 in Hawaii at a Thanksgiving dinner for the United Nations Meditation Group hosted by its director, Sri Chinmoy. He proposed a globally unifying holiday to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found around the world. Each attendee pledged to hold a gratitude gathering each September 21 in their own country. The United Nations Meditation Group formally celebrated World Gratitude Day on September 21, 1977 at the New York Headquarters where Sri Chinmoy was honored for his work. Since its beginnings World Gratitude Day has been observed in many countries around the world.
The awareness of the benefits of having time in one’s life for gratitude, appreciation, and positive reflection have become increasingly apparent. The hope of the founders of Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contended people.
The International Day of Happiness is a movement to promote happiness as a universal goal and aspiration in the lives of human beings around the world. A coalition led by Dr. Hamid Al-Bayati Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, the International Day of Happiness is created in the spirit of the initiatives and other ongoing efforts of the President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other UN member states. On March 20th, during International Day of Nawruz Celebrations, Ambassador Al-Bayati stated, “The UN was formed and intended to be a peace keeping guardian, the objectives adopted in the UN such as peace, respect for human rights, eradication of poverty, sustainable development and millennium development goals, are all for one objective, which is the happiness for all of the people of humanity.”
The following month, at high level meetings addressing “Happiness and Well-being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” convened by the government of Bhutan, the PGA stated that, “It is imperative that we build a new creative guiding vision for sustainability and our future, one that will bring a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach that will promote sustainability, eradicate poverty and enhance well-being and happiness.” The Secretary General remarked that, “We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic, and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.” The International Day of Happiness also recognizes and captures the spirit of the efforts of other nations and groups who have begun to explore various ways to measure prosperity that go beyond material wealth initiated and championed by Bhutan.
The International Day of Happiness will be held on 20th March. Each year, on this date, a universal phenomenon occurs. The sun is on the same plane as the earthʼs equator so that day and night are of equal length, creating balance in the earthʼs celestial coordinate systems. It will be an annual global day of awareness and activities that will drive increasing levels of connectivity, education and action based programs.
Czech Republic young people give joyful expression to their wish for world peace and Harmony. The United Nations and the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are supporting the International Year of Youth and its theme of dialogue and mutual understanding, being celebrated through August of 2011.The slogan is “Our Year” “Our Voice”. In these clips you hear the voice of some European young people. We see many different Czech ways to express harmony: by sharing and passing the torch; making a wish or prayer for peace, by singing , and by some very beautiful synchronized gymnastics, marching and twirling (starts at 4:42). There is a playful spirit of games: guessing countries of international runners, shouting in mother language “harmony begins with me” ; running to the different continents and having a stamp to prove it. Adding to the shared experience, it increases potential of remembering this day and its theme. Planting trees in different locations involves the community in the long-term view of building peace and harmony and brings attention to the goals of the International Year of forests proclaimed by the UN General Assembly for 2011.
The World Harmony Run is a global torch relay, founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987. It seeks to strengthen international friendship and understanding. As a symbol of harmony, runners carry a flaming torch, passing it from hand to hand traveling through over 100 nations around the globe. Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), composed the theme song which ends “We are the Oneness and Fullness of Tomorrow’s Sun”. More news on http://www.worldharmonyrun.org.
In August 2007 Purushottama Boris Grebenshikov performed a concert at the United Nations, attended by Sri Chinmoy. Filmed by Mridanga Spencer. Enjoy these beautiful melodies of one of the most gifted Russian singers! This is the first of 10 parts that are now online on YouTube. You may also watch an interview with him, that was published as part of the LIFE Voices series.
September 21 is the day that has officially been recognized by the UN as the International Day of Peace. It will be celebrated in The Hague with numerous events. And where else could this day be celebrated better than in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice? One of the many events taking place on the 21st is an introduction to the important international organizations based in The Hague. They will be opening their doors to the general public for the day, allowing people to take a glimpse behind the scenes at the Yugoslavia Tribunal, the International Court of Justice in the Peace Palace, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW. These organizations are all located in an area known as the ‘international zone’ in The Hague, in which Europol, too, will soon open its new headquarters.
On the eve of the Day of Peace 2008, the Grote Markt in The Hague will be transformed into the stage for A Peacefull Night; an evening with performances and a debate about Peace and International security in the Middle East. Presenters Evelien Bosch and Dennis Weening will discuss Israel, Palestina and the international implications of the ongoing conflict for peace with different guests. The evening will start at 18:00h with music in the Grote Markt, the debate starts at 20:30h. On 20 and 21 September a “signature wall” will be placed on the Grote Markt on the occasion of the International Day of Peace. Anyone can sign their name or message for peace on this Wall for Peace. On Septemper 21, between 11.45 am and 12.15 pm the President of the International Court of Justice welcomes all to the city of peace, sharing a message of peace on the steps of the Peace Palace. Afterwards, he and the mayor of The Hague, Mr van Aartsen, will give the start signal for the Peace Parade. In collaboration with the Municipality of The Hague, the Africa Life Foundation [Stichting Africa Life] took up the idea of organizing a peace parade through the streets of the city on the International Day of Peace. Participants will include groups, organizations and individuals from different cultures who live and work in The Hague. They will assemble in front of the Peace Palace at 12.30, in traditional dress and with music from their different cultures. The peace walk will start at 12.45 pm and run through the centre, leading the parade to one of the city’s main squares, the Grote Markt. On the square, there will be a stage with music acts reflecting the international character of this day.