National Hug Day

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National Hugging Day (TM)
Flickr - The U.S. Army - Hearty hugs.jpg
A soldier at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, hugs his mother on "Family Day"
Also called National Hugging Day
Observed by United States
Type Secular
Celebrations Offer hugs
Date January 21st
Next time 21 January 2016 (2016-01-21)
Frequency annual

National Hug Day or National Hugging Day is an annual event created by Kevin Zaborney. USA.[1][2] It occurs annually on January 21st. The day was first celebrated on January 21, 1986 in Clio, Michigan, USA.[3] The holiday is also observed in many other countries.[4][5][6] The idea of National Hug Day is to encourage everyone to hug family and friends more often.[1] Zaborney cautions to ask first if one is unsure of the response. Whether you hug a family member or a friend or a stranger, the mental and physical health benefits are the same.[7][8]


Kevin Zaborney is credited with coming up with the idea of National Hugging Day in 1986. It was included in Chase's Calendar of Events; Zaborney's friend at the time was the granddaughter of the proprietors of the publication. He chose January 21st as it fell between the Christmas and New Year's Holidays and Valentine's Day and birthdays when he found people are generally in low spirits.[1] Zaborney considered that "American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public" and hoped that a National Hugging Day would change that,[1] although he thought that his idea would fail.[2] A 2003 study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School found that American couples spend only one-third of the time touching that French couples spend.[9]

Benefits of hugging[edit]

Studies have shown that human contact has many health benefits. It has been found that human contact improves both psychological and physical development.[10] Hugging can also help build a good immune system, decrease the risk of heart disease, and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women.[4] It has been shown that a couple who hugs for 20 seconds has higher levels of oxytocin, and that those who were in a loving relationship exhibited a highest increase.[6] According to the American Psychosomatic Society, a hug or 10 minutes of holding hands with a romantic partner can help reduce stress, and its harmful physical effects.[9] In a study, adults who had no contact with people had higher blood pressure and heart rate.[9] Other studies have indicated that the touch of a friend might not be as helpful as the touch of a partner but should not be avoided.[9]


National Hugging Day has its own website[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Kevin Zaborney creates National Hug Day". Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "National Hugging Day – One Pastor's Ingenious Idea". Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Zaborney, Kevin. "Official National Hug Day Website". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Woods, Tyler. "Today Is National Hug Day Which Means Good Health". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Hug Day". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "What is National Hug Day?". Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  7. ^ A Hug A Day Could Save Your Life FoxNews, Dr. Manny Alvarez , 31.01.2007
  8. ^ The Effect of Interpersonal Touch During Childhood on Adult Attachment and Depression published online 24 June 2009,
  9. ^ a b c d Elias, Marilyn (10 March 2003). "Study: Hugs warm the heart, and may protect it". Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Romero, Frances (21 December 2011). "National Hug Day: Yes it matters". Retrieved 18 April 2011.