Timorese in traditional dress take part in a ceremony for the International Day of Peace.
Timorese in traditional dress take part in a celebration of peace in Alieu, Timor-Leste. UN Photo/Martine Perret.

What is the International Day of Happiness?

It’s a day to be happy, of course! Since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to end povertyreduce inequality, and protect our planet – three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness. 

The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebration of the International Day of Happiness.

Background

The General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness, recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives. It also recognized the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.

The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country which recognized the value of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. It also hosted a High Level Meeting on "Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm" during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

Children play on a water slide during UNRWA Summer Fun Weeks.

UN photographers capture people smiling, celebrating, playing, and laughing in this special collection for the International Day of Happiness.

Smurfs like eating big Smurfberry pies and singing happy songs, but it's only fun when everyone in Smurf Village has enough to eat and has no worries. So when the Smurfs heard that the United Nations has a big plan to protect all people and the planet, they had to be a part of it. With their boundless energy and positive attitude, the Smurfs helped the United Nations celebrate the International Day of Happiness by promoting the Sustainable Development Goals. The Goals aim to protect people and our planet, so we can all live the happiest lives possible.

 

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.