International Friendship Day celebrations take place on the first Sunday of August every year. The tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends began in US in 1935(no references). Gradually the festival gained popularity and today Friendship Day is celebrated in large number of countries. On this day people spend time with their friends and express love for them. Exchange of Friendship Day Gifts like flowers, cards and wrist bands is a popular tradition of this occasion.
Friendship Day History
There is not much literature on Friendship Day history as we celebrate today. However, there are supposedly numerous folktales and mythological legends that have come up after the celebration of the day started that shows that friends and friendship have been valued since the beginning of civilized world. As an intrinsically social creature, men love to make friends to further this process of socialization.
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.” Matthew 7:7
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13-15
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 Thirukural
"The following works of art and literature are among the most remarkable contributions of the Tamil creative genius to the world's cultural treasure and should be familiar to the whole world and admired and beloved by all in the same way as the poems of Homer, the dramas of Shakespeare, the pictures of Rembrandt, the cathedrals of France and the sculptures of Greece..... the Thirukural, one of the great books of the world, one of those singular emanations of the human heart and spirit which preach positive love and forgiveness and peace....."
Verse 781 What is as difficult to secure as friendship? And what greater security is there against foes?
Verse 782 Among wise men, freindship waxes like the crescent moon; Among fools it wanes as surely as the full moon must.
Verse 783 The bonds that good men share, like good bound books, Reveal new enjoyments at each new encounter.
Verse 784 The object of friendship is not merrymaking But a stern rebuking when friends go astray.
Verse 785 It is not constant meeting and companionship But mutual sensibilities that confer the alliance of friendship.
Verse 786 Friendship is not seen on a friendly face, But felt deep within a friendly heart.
Verse 787 To divert a man from wrong, direct him toward the right And share his sorrow in misfortune is friendship.
Verse 788 As swiftly as the hand moves to seize a slipping garment, Friendship acts to assuage a friend's distress.
Verse 789 Where does Friendship hold her court? It is where friends May find constant support in every possible circumstance.
Verse 790 To boast, "He means so much to me and I to him," Merely belittles a friendship.