Celebrating International Friendship Day

A group of young friends smile together.

Many of life’s greatest joys come from the people in your life. Shared moments with family and friends alike create memories with inside jokes, meaningful conversations, mutual tears, and much more. When you build a close connection with a friend through common interests and experiences, that friendship becomes something special to hold on to, no matter how close or far they may be to you. International Friendship Day provides an opportunity to cherish and show appreciation for your friends.

Do you know who all your cousins are? One unique way to celebrate International Friendship Day is to see if you and your friends are actually related. Use Relatives Around Me in the Family Tree App to find out.

A group of elderly female friends hugging each other.

When Is International Friendship Day?

Countries such as the U.S. and India celebrate International Friendship Day on the first Sunday in August. Alternatively, the United Nations celebrates on July 30th. However, it’s also observed on other days around the world.

  • Several countries celebrate on February 14th, offering an alternative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day for those without romantic partners. These countries include Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Finland, Estonia, and the Dominican Republic. 
  • South Africa celebrates on April 16th.
  • Bolivia celebrates on July 23rd.
  • Peru celebrates on the first Saturday in July.
  • Argentina, Spain, Brazil, and Uruguay all celebrate on July 20th.
A group of male friends smile and laugh together.

What Is International Friendship Day?

International Friendship Day is a special day to appreciate friendships both locally and globally. When it gained popularity internationally, the World Friendship Crusade was started. The crusade is a fellowship of people dedicated to building friendships worldwide regardless of differences in culture, race, or religion.

The movement is popular around the world and is gaining more and more traction with the spread of social media. It’s especially popular in South Asia, particularly in India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia. International Friendship Day is also so prevalent in Argentina that it caused a widespread crash of the mobile network in 2005.

How Did International Friendship Day Start?

Friendship Day was first started in the U.S. by the greeting card industry, marketed as a day to send cards of appreciation to friends. The idea started around 1920 but died down by the 1940s.

It didn’t pick back up until July 20, 1958, when Dr. Ramon Artemio Bracho suggested it at a dinner amongst friends in Paraguay. Unofficial celebrations followed for years. In 1998, Winnie-the-Pooh was named the World’s Ambassador of Friendship by the United Nations, and it became an official UN holiday in 2011. It has steadily gained popularity worldwide through the use of the internet and social media in recent years.

A woman smiles while reading a friendship card.

How Can You Celebrate International Friendship Day?

There are no rules to celebrating International Friendship Day. Find a way to honor your friendships that is meaningful to you. These ideas can get you started:

  • Gather with friends in what ever way you all enjoy spending time together, whether it’s a big day out or a quiet day in.
  • In Paraguay, people play "amigo invisible" (the invisible friend) where people draw names and secretly give gifts to the person they selected—much like Secret Santa.
  • Send letters or cards to friends abroad or locally.
  • In India, people tie friendship ribbons to each others’ wrists.
  • Wear white t-shirts so you can sign each other’s shirts or make handprints with paint.
  • Call friends or send texts to let your friends know you’re thinking about them.
  • Reminisce over photos with your friends. You can save your favorite photos with FamilySearch Memories.
  • Write about your favorite memories with your friends. Record your stories using FamilySearch's Record My Story feature.
  • Discover how you and your friends are related by using the Relatives Around Me feature in the FamilySearch app.

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