Does this photo of kids at play in Kolkata, India, prompt memories of fun times you had as a child, when the world didn’t extend much further than you and your friends? If so, you’re in the right frame of mind to celebrate International Day of Friendship, or just Friendship Day. The idea began in a bid of crass commercialism: The holiday was invented and marketed by the founder of Hallmark Cards. But the public saw through that and it didn’t take. Decades later, a peace-promoting group called the World Friendship Crusade relaunched Friendship Day in Paraguay as a way to foster peace. It’s been gaining traction ever since.
Today we’re in Howick, a town near the east coast of South Africa, where this monument honors the anti-apartheid activist and South African president Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 today. Like Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, Mandela Day—celebrated on Mandela’s birthday—is intended not as a holiday exactly but as a day to answer the ‘global call to action’ by finding ways to engage in service to your local community. The best part about Mandela Day? You don’t need to be from South Africa to observe the event.
I hope that you all have a wonderful new year and a chance to make 2018 a happy, healthy and prosperous year for yourselves and others. I hope that any bad experience from this year does not follow you and that you can let go of any harm that held you back and start fresh with a new outlook and hope for the better.