World Humanist Day is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually around the world on the June solstice, around June 21st As a way of spreading awareness of Humanism as a philosophical life stance and means to effect change in the world. It is also seen as a time for Humanists to gather socially and promote the positive values of Humanism. The holiday developed during the 1980s after several chapters of the American Humanist Association (AHA) began to celebrate it. At the time, the date on which it was celebrated varied from chapter to chapter, with selections such as the founding date of the IHEU, or International Humanist and Ethical Union. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the AHA and IHEU passed resolutions declaring World Humanist Day to be on the summer solstice.
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition. The meaning of the term humanism differs between intellectual movements. The term was coined by theologian Friedrich Niethammer at the beginning of the 19th century. Generally, however, humanism refers to a perspective that affirms some notion of human freedom and progress. In modern times, humanist movements are typically aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world
The manner in which World Humanist Day is celebrated varies considerably among local Humanist groups, reflecting the individuality and non-dogmatism of Humanism as a whole. Whilst the event might be a simple gathering, such as a dinner or picnic, with ample time for both socialising and reflection, the method of celebration is down to the individual. Some groups actually develop intricate social rituals, music, and proceedings which highlight the metaphoric symbolism of the solstice and the light (knowledge) which brings us out of darkness (ignorance).
Despite this World Humanist Day has not yet become a fully celebrated holiday in all Humanist organizations, although many of them are beginning to recognize it and plan events and activities around the holiday. International Humanist and Ethical Union lists several different ways that national and local Humanist groups celebrate World Humanist Day. For example, the Dutch Humanist Association broadcast short films about World Humanist Day on Dutch TV in 2012. In 2013, the first National Humanist Day will be organized in The Netherlands. The Humanist Association of Ireland held poetry readings in the park to celebrate the day. The Humanists of Florida Association suggested that groups hold Introduction to Humanism classes on World Humanist Day.