National Hugging Day

Group of diverse individuals engaged in a heartwarming group hug, with cozy sweaters, urban park setting, expressing the joy of National Hugging Day..
National hugging day illustration

Throw off your chains of reserved stoicism, my friends! There's a day that celebrates the simple, warm, and oh-so-human act of hugging, and it's called - you guessed it - National Hugging Day. It's all about breaking down barriers and giving out some fluffy, no-strings-attached hugs. Yes, we are talking about the whole nine yards of hugging here, just without turning it into a rugby tackle gone wrong!

When is Hugging Day?

It's national hugging day on the 21st January.

A Brief Squeeze of History

Before we get into the loving embrace of National Hugging Day, we need to squeeze out some history. National Hugging Day popped onto the scene in 1986. It was created by Kevin Zaborney, a man who deserves his own historical monument for making hugging a national pastime. He chose January 21st because it fell between the Christmas holidays and Valentine's Day, when he noticed people were foundering in a sea of mid-winter jadedness.

Hugging: The Honey of Human Touch

Here's a fun fact. Did you know hugging can actually improve your health? You'd be amazed what a pair of cuddling arms can do. Hugging is an excellent stress-buster, it lowers your heart rate, makes you happier, and even strengthens the immune system. So, if you find yourself wavering on whether to celebrate this day, consider this your doctor's prescription.

Embrace the Tradition!

Now, in case you're nervous, let's review the hugging protocol. Firstly, always respect personal boundaries. Not everyone may be ready for a full-blown bear hug at 8 in the morning. Post your hugs, real and virtual, on social media with the hashtag #NationalHuggingDay. It's a beautiful way of sending out feels, especially to those who could really do with a hug.

Hugging Day 2021: A Virtual Hug

The year 2021 saw the most mentions of National Hugging Day on the internet. Thanks to social distancing rules, traditional hugging had to take a backseat. But did we stop? Nah. We switched to virtual hugging, showing that no matter what the obstacle, the human spirit (and the desire to hug) cannot be quashed!

History behind the term 'Hugging'

500 BCE

Ancient Origins

Hugging, in its earliest forms, can trace its roots back to ancient civilizations. Evidence suggests that hugging may have been practiced in ancient Greece as early as 500 BCE. The Greeks valued physical touch as a way to express affection and promote social bonding. Hugging was likely used as a way to emphasize love and friendship.

13th Century

Medieval Embrace

During the medieval period, hugging took on a more formal and ceremonial role. It was customary for knights to hug their fellow knights as a gesture of brotherhood and loyalty. This practice symbolized trust and solidarity among warriors. The act of hugging became intertwined with the chivalrous code of honor.

18th Century

The Romantic Hug

In the 18th century, hugging began to take on a more intimate and romantic connotation. The concept of embracing one another in a warm embrace gained popularity among couples as a way to express their love and affection. The hug became a symbol of deep emotional connection and tenderness.

20th Century

Psychological Significance

The 20th century marked a turning point in how hugging was perceived. Psychologists and scientists started to recognize the psychological benefits of hugging. Studies suggested that hugging releases oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and happiness. Hugging became associated with reducing stress, promoting feelings of security, and strengthening relationships.


National Hugging Day

In 1986, Kevin Zaborney, an American psychotherapist, founded National Hugging Day. The day, celebrated on January 21st, aimed to encourage people to engage in more physical touch and affection. Zaborney believed that hugging could bridge communication gaps and foster a more compassionate society. National Hugging Day continues to be celebrated annually, reminding people of the power of a warm embrace.

Did you know?

Did you know during the 2021 pandemic, a product named 'cuddle curtain' got popularity? It was a plastic curtain with two plastic sleeves made for loved ones to cuddle without risking any health hazards.


Celebration Fun History Hugging Day 21 January Health Happiness

First identified

21st April 2015

Most mentioned on

21st January 2021

Total mentions


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