What is the International Day of Peace or Happiness?
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end wars and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political. On this day, peoples stand together to spread peace and love around the world.
Why do We Celebrate International Peace Day?
On the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace or Happiness Day, people around the world take part in various peaceful activities and organize events focused on the theme “peace”. Events vary from private gatherings to public concerts and forums involving large audiences.
International Peace Day Background
A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The assembly decided in 2001 that the International Day of Peace should be annually observed on September 21 starting from 2002. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal. Since its inception, Peace Day has marked personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people worldwide and many events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate this day.
International Day of Peace Activities
Through the years, many different activities have been organized in UN government observance of the International Day of Peace and Happiness. These include: educational events and conferences, public gatherings, workshops, marches, musical celebrations, meditations, intercultural dialogues and interfaith gatherings, environmental projects, art exhibits, community gatherings and much more.
- Interfaith peace ceremonies.
- A toast for peace.
- A peace choir.
- Lighting candles.
- Peace prayers.
- A peace convoy of vehicles.
- Tree planting for peace.
- Art exhibitions promoting peace.
- Picnics for peace.
- Peace walks.
Use this map to find a 2017 event near you. Check here: http://internationaldayofpeace.org/event-map/
Organizations such as Roots & Shoots events, an international environmental and humanitarian program for young’s to show their support for the event on a yearly basis. Young people involved in Roots & Shoots may engage in activities such as crafting giant peace dove puppets from re-used materials and flying the doves in their communities.
People from other religious and spiritual backgrounds also commit to organizing an International Day of Peace Vigil. Some groups observe a minute of silence at afternoon in every time zone across the world on Peace Day.
Public Life on International Peace Day
The UN’s International Day of Peace is a global observance and it is not a public holiday. It is a day when nations around the world are invited to honor a cessation of hostilities during the day.
International Peace Day Symbols
The peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak is one of the most commonly featured symbols for the day. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam a white dove is generally a sign for peace. The dove can also represent “hope for peace” or a peace offering from one person to another, hence the phrase “to extend an olive branch”. Often, the dove is represented as still in flight to remind people of its role as messenger.
International Day of Peace 2017 Theme
The theme of Happy Peace Day 2017 was “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.” Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
The theme for 2017 has yet to be announced.
Find out more about International Day of Peace here.
International Peace Day Speech and Quotes
“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” –John F. Kennedy
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” –Nelson Mandela
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” –Albert Einstein
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.” –Winston Churchill
“There is a higher court than courts of justice, and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa
“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.” – William Ewart Gladstone
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one” – John Lennon