Open up your heart … and your arms, this January 21 for National Hugging Day! As you might guess, this day is an annual event dedicated to the underrated art form of the hug. We love all types of hugs, from the one-armed bro hug to full bear hugs. So let’s get hugging!
The History of National Hugging Day
National Hugging Day was created in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney. His friend was the granddaughter of the proprietors of Chase’s Calendar of Events. Zaborney chose January 21 because it was the time between the winter holiday season and the new year’s birthdays, which he noticed was a time people tend to feel low in spirits. He also felt that Americans were often too embarrassed to show affection in public and hoped National Hugging Day would change that, though he never actually thought it would catch on.
The word “hug” is believed to come from the word “hugga” meaning “to comfort” in the Old Norse language, first appearing approximately 450 years ago. However, the history of hugging itself is a bit more uncertain. What is known is that it is only very recently (within the past 50 years) that we have seen a full acceptance of hugging in public, separating it from other distinguished displays of affection such as kissing. The widespread adoption of hugging over the recent years has been debated to be due to two primary reasons: the reduced formality of dress code and manners between relationships, along with the changing behaviors of political figures in pursuit of a more relatable, warm-hearted perception to the public.
Nowadays, we don’t even think about the fact that hugging in public was considered indecent PDA. We hug to greet friends and family, to say goodbye, or to congratulate someone. To console someone or to show support. We hug before sports and performance teams begin their match, and to show a general sign of affection between intimate relationships.