AnnaMarie Houlis
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Journalist & travel blogger

Of course, you don't need any more reasons to celebrate the people closest to you. But why not have another excuse to feel grateful? That's what Friendship Day is all about.

What is Friendship Day?

Friendship Day is "a revered occasion for friends all over the world... a day when people express love and heartfelt feelings for their best friends and buddies and promise to stand by them at all times in all circumstances," according to FriendshipDay.org.

A United States Congress proclamation made in 1935 declared the first Sunday of August as a United States holiday in honor of friends. Since then, people around the globe have celebrated World Friendship Day every year. This year, Friendship Day falls on Sunday, August 4th.

What is the history of Friendship Day?

Friendship Day, which was originally founded by Hallmark Cards, Inc. in 1919, was initially intended to be a day for people to celebrate their friendships by sending each other cards. Then in 1930, Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, Inc. attempted to revive the concept, but many felt that the holiday was solely created for the sole purpose of selling more greeting cards, as the greeting card national association had tried to promote the idea throughout the 20s and 30s. 

In 1935, a United States Congress proclamation declared the first Sunday of August as a United States holiday, even though, in April 2011, the United Nations officially recognized July 30th as International Friendship Day. Still, most countries celebrate it on the first Sunday of August.

Social media has revived the holiday since it's gimmicky days, since users enjoy sharing Friendship Day images with each other on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Some additional historical fun facts:

  • The Beatles' song "With a Little Help from My Friends" was released in 1967 in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of World Friendship Day.
  • In 1998, Nane Annan, the wife of Kofi Annan (who was the UN Secretary General at the time) named Winnie the Pooh the world's Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations.
  • In 1999, the Memphis, Tennessee Kappa Delta sorority initiated National Women's Friendship Day, which is celebrated on the third Sunday in September to recognize women's female friends.

How can you celebrate Friendship Day?

There are tons of ways to show appreciation for your friends on Friendship Day. Here are 10 to get you started.

1. Share a photo collage of you and your friend on social media.

Collect a bunch of photos of you and your friend or friends together and share a collage on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. This can be a fun way of reminiscing about all of your time together and remembering the many reasons why you appreciate your friend so much. And you can show that appreciation by sharing the photos with the world (or, at least, your online social network!).

2. Send your friend flowers.

Send your friend flowers with a note that lets them know how grateful you are for them. You can pick up flowers and deliver them yourself, or you can send flowers through online services such as 1800 Flowers or Pro Flowers, among many others.

3. Share a meal with your friend.

Treat your friend to a meal where you can catch up on life. Take them out for lunch or dinner — perhaps to their favorite restaurant or to a spot where you always used to go for old times' sake. Maybe you met internationally, and you decide to treat them to a dinner with cuisine from the country in which you met each other. Whatever the case, make the meal more special than your typical afternoon or evening grabbing a bite.

4. Cheers your friend with some champagne.

Pop some champagne and say cheers to celebrate your friend. If you're out with a group of friends, maybe you want to order a round of drinks and give a quick toast to let your crew know how much you love them and remind them of why.

5. Take a trip with your friend.

If you have the time off in August, take a trip with your friend to celebrate Friendship Day. Even if you only have the weekend of Friendship Day, spend it somewhere relaxing or exciting with your friend or group of friends. Take a few days to spend quality time together.

6. Give your friend a gift.

Give your friend a gift on Friendship Day! Maybe it's a small trinket, a piece of jewelry, chocolates or concert tickets. Whatever it is, it's the thought that counts — the sentiment that you're grateful for them.

7. Tell your friend how much you appreciate them.

You don't need to go out to a fancy meal or take a trip or buy your friend a gift or spend any money at all. You can — and should — tell your friend how much you appreciate them. You can say this in three words: I love you! It's as simple as that.

8. Lend your friend a helping hand.

Show your friend how much you appreciate all of their help and support throughout your friendship by offering to lend them a hand with something with which they need help on Friendship Day (or any day, of course!).

9. Start a tradition with your friend.

If you don't already have a tradition with your friend for Friendship Day, perhaps you want to start one. It doesn't need to be anything super creative; you can just start a tradition that you go to one of your house's to crack open a bottle of wine and cook together. Or maybe you have a potluck with a group of your friends. Maybe it's the one night you all actually get together to go out dancing, no excuses.

10. Send your friend a card.

Of course, you can always send a simple card — don't worry, we're not pushing the gimmick! But cards (and letters!) are nice to receive.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.