International Day of Friendship: Celebrating Across Cultures, Countries, and Communities

Today is the International Day of Friendship. But before we go into all of that, do something for me. Take just a minute to scroll through your social media feed or flip through channels on the television… What do you see? For me, it doesn’t take long before the overtly callous and careless opinions that people plaster on their walls makes me want to disconnect. I get having opinions – it’s an unalienable right, right? But it seems that the way we view and interact with people of different beliefs and cultures not only causes behind-the-screen cringing, it attacks peace and social harmony among the people of our nation, and the world at large. Our world today is riddled with cultural discord and violent forces of division, but such detrimental division can be combated by uplifting and defending the simplest form of human camaraderie and unity – friendship. Through intentional friendship, we can spark a passion for a better world.

International Day of Friendship :: Celebrating Across Cultures, Countries, and CommunitiesThe Benefits of Friendship

Friendships are a critical aspect of most people’s emotional well-being. Just ask science: close friendships are associated with greater happiness, self-esteem, sense of purpose, and can even affect our physical well-being. Beyond that, friendships can elicit growth and enhance our entire experience of the world. The writer AnaÏs Nin posed that, “each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

The History of International Day of Friendship

The first World Friendship Day was proposed for July 30th in 1958 by the World Friendship Crusade, an international civil organization based out of Paraguay that campaigns to nurture and promote a culture of peace through friendship. The WFC lobbied the UN for many years to recognize July 30th as World Friendship Day and, recognizing the power of friendship as a catalyst for peace efforts, the United Nations General Assembly declared July 30 the International Day of Friendship in 2011. The idea was to celebrate friendship that knows no bounds, bridges borders, and connects people across countries, cultures, and communities, no matter their differences.

Celebrating International Day of Friendship

International Day of Friendship :: Celebrating Across Cultures, Countries, and CommunitiesWhat I’m not going to do here is give you a list of fun ways to celebrate your besties or honor the many different valuable types of friendship in your life. Why?  Because we have other days for that! {National Best Friend Day – June 8th, National Friendship Day – 1st Sunday in August}. This day, the International Day of Friendship, encourages involving young people in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity. Living in Houston {recently named America’s #1 Most Diverse City by WalletHub}, we are uniquely positioned to celebrate! Here’s some ways to explore around town and celebrate from your own home:

  • Try some international cuisine at one of the many authentic cuisine spots in and around Houston: Check out or Follow Houston’s Got Spice on IG {@houstonsgotspice} for a comprehensive list of authentic fare sorted by cuisine types and areas of Houston you wish to explore!
  • Visit Houston’s renowned museum district: With unique places like the Asia Society Texas Center, the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, The Czech Center Museum Houston, The Houston Museum of African America Culture, plus the many diverse exhibits found in the Museum of Fine Arts, there are countless ways to immerse yourself in the history and performing and visual arts of the world. While at the MFAH, you’ve got to check out the incredible 79 ft. hand crocheted suspended maze by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto!
  • Attend or host a community event: Celebrate the beauty that diversity brings to your community and develop new friendships at the same time. There are lots of great pop-up events that happen in Houston all the time, so keep an eye out on local listings! OR in your neighborhood, ask friends and neighbors to contribute a dish that represents their heritage and create a playlist from around the world!
  • Read books about multicultural friendship with your children: This list of children’s books from Colours of Us dives into friendship topics from “making a friend at a new school to overcoming conflict in a friendship, from inter-generational friendships to friendships across racial divides…”
  • Watch Family Movies that highlight and celebrate diversity: I love this list from The Everymom that highlights 18 amazing movies that not only celebrate friendship, but also feature characters of color leading with strength, joy, and individualism. 

International Day of Friendship :: Celebrating Across Cultures, Countries, and CommunitiesDo you know of any cultural events happening in your neighborhood that promote international understanding and respect for diversity? Let us know in the comments!

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