New Year’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate hope, set resolutions, and look ahead to the good things to come. But January 1 is also Global Family Day, an international day of peace and sharing that promotes the idea of all mankind as one big family.
The holiday has its origins in the 1970s, when four school children in Manhattan began to talk about what they thought life would be like in the year 2000. Surely, they thought, the world would by then be united in peace and friendship—right?
As we know in 2018, world peace is a dream yet to be realized. But by celebrating Global Family Day, we can perhaps move a little closer to making that dream a reality.
A holiday is born
Although it had roots in the 1970s, Global Family Day really began to build steam in the 1990s. As the millennium approached, student groups and activists began to look for ways to commemorate the year 2000 with a holiday that might set the tone for a more optimistic, peaceful future.
One of these activists, Linda Grover, held a meeting in 1998 that brought together 50 different groups from around the world to discuss how to ring in the new millennium. This work eventually coincided with that being done by high school students at Verde Valley School in Sedona, Arizona, who sought to have January 1, 2000 recognized by the United Nations as a day for peace.
Ultimately, the United Nations not only recognized the day, but further recognized January 1 as Global Family Day. The holiday has also been recognized by the United States Congress, and more than 30 heads of state.
While there may still be a long way to go before the world achieves peace, one thing is clear: It’s a goal many in the world share.
How to celebrate
Global Family Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our common humanity. For many people, that means sharing meals with loved ones, taking care of the less fortunate, and making a pledge of nonviolence. Celebrants also donate to charitable causes they believe in, often focusing on organizations that operate internationally.
And, much like New Year’s, many celebrate by ringing bells, beating drums, and singing songs as a way to cheer on the arrival of the future. Peace may not be easily achieved, but when we pause to remember what we have in common, and consider ourselves as members of an extended family that spans the entire globe, we can all agree it’s a goal worth pursuing.