The United Nations has chosen special days to celebrate all small parts of life. There is a World Radio Day (13 February). An International Day of Forests and the Tree (21 March). The UN calendar also marks something called Vesak, or the Day of the Full Moon in Buddhist traditions.
And since 2012, we finally have a UN International Day of Happiness.
The decision to establish an International Day of Happiness has been set out in a formal UN resolution. As the laws of diplomacy-speak require, the text is somewhat swollen (“conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental goal just means: everybody would like to be happy), the text is quite short.
The text recognises the need for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication and the well-being of all peoples“. Music to my ears, as I’m convinced that governments have a role to play via well-being policies.
20 March was chosen, because on this day, the sun is on the same plane as the earth’s equator. Day and night are of equal length, creating balance in the earth’s celestial coordinate systems. The idea to have an international day of happiness was raised by Bhutan, which bases its policies on the concept of Gross National Happiness.
Though these days can be criticised (should I only care about women on 8 March), it can be a good way to raise awareness and let people think of their own happiness. In a way, the UN recognition is the culmination of years of work that have been done to convince states and international organisation to take happiness seriously. It builds upon Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, but also on comparable initiatives by France, the UK, the EU and the OECD.
Happiness to the People!
But enough about official celebration. This is a day for the people.
The last months many of our days have been lightened up by the hymn of happiness. Last November, you might have seen the 24 video clip on his website. It is amazing to see how big the song has become since. As I wrote about before, the idea has been taken aboard by people all around the globe, who’ve created their own versions.
Tomorrow, the song will be everywhere. Pharrell teamed up with the UN for another ’24 hours of Happy’, based on videos submitted all around the world.
Watch this page tomorrow to celebrate the International Day of Happiness!
But for now, some of the local versions:
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
I’ve been hoping for a guest appearance of my friend, alas!
My very own host city has at least ten versions on youtube. This one seems the funniest:
People in Vilnius aren’t as glum as the word has it!
Tahiti seems the happiest place of all! I need a holiday now…