The International Day of Happiness is celebrated worldwide every March 20. It was adopted in 2012 to mark a new historical milestone in humankind’s ultimate quest for happiness, which dates back to the time of ancient sages and philosophers such as Bhudda, Socrates, Confucius, Aristotle, Plato, Epicurus, Mencius, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, and religious figures like Jesus, Abraham, Moses, and the prophet Muhammad – all of whom theorized about the purpose and meaning of life, the definition of happiness, and how to achieve it.
The International Day of Happiness was founded by philanthropist, activist, statesman, and prominent United Nations special advisor Jayme Illien to inspire, mobilize, and advance the global happiness movement. It began In 2011, when Illien brought the idea and concept of creating a new global day of awareness, the International Day of Happiness, to senior United Nations Officials and successfully campaigned to unite a global coalition of all 193 United Nations member states, and secured the endorsement of then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki moon, to support the concept of establishing a new official international UN calendar day of observance known as the International Day of Happiness.
Illien authored UN resolution 66/281 “International Day of Happiness”, which was ultimately adopted by the unanimous consensus of all 193 UN member states of the United Nations General Assembly on June 28, 2012. Jayme Illien chose March 20 for its significance as the March equinox, a universal phenomenon felt simultaneously by all of humankind, and which occurs the moment when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk. On September 17, 2012, Secretary General Ban Ki moon emphasized the importance of the new international day of happiness in his closing remarks to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, “Mr. President, during your tenure, the General Assembly also instituted a new observance on the UN calendar: the International Day of Happiness. Let us hope that through our work, including in the new session that begins tomorrow, we can turn that aspiration into reality.”
The first ever international day of happiness was celebrated on March 20, 2013 and now Every March 20 since 2013. Founded June 28, 2012 The International Day of Happiness Resolution 66/281 was the result of the effort of United Nations adviser Jayme Illien, who conceptualized the idea for a U.N. Resolution that would recognize the pursuit of happiness as a human right and a “fundamental human goal.” He gained the support for a new International Day of Happiness from the President of the UN General Assembly and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as all 193 UN member states to draft and adopt a new UN resolution to create the new international day, the International Day of Happiness. Jayme Illien authored UN resolution 66/281 and campaigned for its adoption by consensus of all 193 member states.
The International Day of Happiness has surprisingly humble beginings. In 1980 Jayme Illien was an orphan rescued from the streets of Calcutta India by Mother Teresa’s International Mission of Hope charities. Jayme Illien was later adopted by a then forty five year old single white American woman named Anna Belle Illien. After agreeing to adopt Jayme, Anna Belle Illien founded Illien Adoptions International, Inc, a 501 c non for profit child social welfare and international adoption agency based in Atlanta, GA.
Jayme Illien has served as an Adviser, consultant and representative for Economists for Peace and Security, a United Nations ECOSOC accredited NGO with special consultative status. Economists for Peace and Security achieved notability for exceedingly distinguished and thought leading economic community. The Economists for Peace and Security Board of Trustees has seventeen Nobel peace prize laureates in the prize for economics, including Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen of Harvard University, Lawrence Klein, Óscar Arias, George Akerlof, Kenneth Arrow, Daniel McFadden, Roger Myerson, Thomas Schelling, William F. Sharpe of Stanford University, Robert Solow, Franco Modigliani of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sir Clive Granger, Wassily Leontief, Douglass North, Jan Tinbergen, and James Tobin of Harvard University and Yale University. Other notable trustees include Former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou, Former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The United Nations hosted the first high-level meeting on happiness and wellbeing in 2012: Defining A New Economic Paradigm. At this meeting of heads of state, ministers and high-level delegates from over thirty countries and intergovernmental organizations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki moon stated:
“We need a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”
This UN resolution marked the modern historical milestone of globalizing the Happiness Development Movement that started in 1972. The resolution also celebrates a modern legal and constitutional history of humankind which recognizes happiness as a human right and goal. Today the International Day of Happiness is celebrated in 193 UN Member states, 2 observer states, and 11 territories.
More International and National Holidays and events happening on March 20
Earth Equinox Day
International Astrology Day
Ostara in the northern hemisphere, Mabon in the southern hemisphere. (Neo-Druidic Wheel of the Year
Sun-Earth Day (United States)
Great American Meatout (United States)
International Francophonie Day (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie), and its related observances:
UN French Language Day (United Nations)
Extraterrestrial Abduction Day
French Language Day
Great American Meatout Day
National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
National Ravioli Day
Snowman Burning Day