National Hugging Day!

Did you know that there is an entire day dedicated to hugs? It’s called National Hugging Day and takes place on January 21st. Even though a hug is one of the most natural gestures, not many people get them these days. This holiday helps to encourage hugging, which is a therapeutic way to convey affection and emotions.

History of National Hugging Day

National Hugging Day was created by Kevin Zaborney in 1986. Zaborney had picked January 21st because it was the time between the winter holiday season and new year’s birthdays. He noticed that at that time people tended to be low in spirit. Another thing Zaborney had noticed was that Americans at the time were embarrassed by showing affection in public so he hoped National Hugging Day would change that.  The word “hug” is believed to come from the word “hugga” from the Old Norse language, first appearing around 450 years ago. “Hugga” means “to comfort”.

National Hugging Day Traditions

The best way to celebrate National Hugging Day is by spreading the love by offering a hug to your friends and family. Due to covid perhaps you can send the day letting the important people in your life that you are there for them by lifting their spirits.

Take a look at this article on safe hugging if you’re interested in how hugging has been made safe in some places during the current pandemic!

Public Display of Affection Today

Recently, as in the past 50 years, hugging in public has become more socially accepted. This separates it from other displays of affection such as kissing. The widespread acceptance of hugging over recent years seems to be due to two primary reasons: less formal dress code and manners between relationships. In today’s world hugging in public doesn’t even cross our minds as something that was once considered PDA (Public Display of Affection).

We hug as a greeting, or to say goodbye, to say congratulations. To support or console. We give good luck hugs before a performance as a sign of affection. Today there are even Free Hugs charity fundraisers.

Did You Know?

Did you know that 12 hugs a day are crucial for your development? You may have heard the saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” And it’s true as confirmed by family therapist Virginia Satir.

Did you know that hugs have a stress-buffering effect? It has been tested that people who received for social support by hugs created a 32% stress buffer. Meaning that when getting a cold the people with higher social support due to receiving more hugs had less severe symptoms!

Did you know that 20-second hugs are recommended? During a hug, we release oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes us and lowers anxiety. It is often referred to as the “cuddle hormone” and can only be released during these 20 seconds of hugging. It can effectively lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine.

What Type of Hugger Are You?

There are a variety of huggers from a good hugger, weird hugger, or overly polite hugger. Don’t know which one you are or maybe want to verify if you are correct? Take this quiz on hugging to find out!

Remember to take the time to show affection to your loved ones this January 21st and every other day.

Aisha Awan
ASYVC Lead Ambassador