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Smile, today is the first International Day of Happiness

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 20, 2013 at 11:11 AM   |   Comments

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March 20 (UPI) -- The International Day of Happiness was established by the UN general assembly in June 2012, and promises not to be just another global awareness day.

World observances recognized the the U.N. already include friendship, television, jazz and even widows, but the seemingly obvious happiness day was just added last year. Its official observance will be March 20, the first day of spring.

The Action for Happiness organization's #HappyDay initiative -- a campaign to promote the day -- has already reached nearly 2 million people from over 130 countries. It uses the mobile app Cheers to let people give shout-outs to "happy heroes."

Major events are planned in cities around the world, including a Happiness Brunch in Brussels and a Free Hugs flash mob near Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle.

193 UN member states historically pledged their support for the day, vowing to push forward efforts within their own countries. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon addressed the assembly on the importance of making happiness a greater global priority.

“We need a new economic paradigm that recognises the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic, and environmental wellbeing are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”

Critics say the U.N. should be more focused on "serious" issues such as Syria and North Korea, but proponents still feel that happiness is indeed a serious issue, and there might not ever be a conflict-free day to celebrate it.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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