Some of you may know that today is the World Mental Health Day. It also happens to be the World Sight Day. And tomorrow will be the International Day of the Girl Child, and yesterday was World Post Day. Yes, the one that celebrates the postal union.
Did you know about any of this? Did you know, that in fact, the United Nations calendar has 118 international days to celebrate in a year? The entire list can be found here (http://www.un.org/en/events/observances/days.shtml) and there’s a high likelihood your birthday also falls on one of these aforementioned days. Some of the days may seem really silly to you, such as World Television Day, and you can be sure that this list is by no means exhaustive. We’re pretty much running out of days to commemorate things with, and most of the time, we just celebrate what is important to us, and use it as an excuse to run some awesome event.
This is the same as joining a club in school. There are hundreds of clubs in the National University of Singapore, for instance, and everyday during the first few weeks of the semester, these clubs will be organising gatherings, welcome teas and whatnot. They are bound to clash in terms of days and timings, and everybody is so absorbed with planning for their own events that they don’t have the time or the inclination to participate in other club events. So in the end there are few participants and too many organisers.
So what’s the point of setting aside such days? Well, it’s always interesting and encouraging for people all over the world, passionate towards the same cause, to connect in a shared activity during that one day. And when people from all over the world take part in an event, it becomes a large-scale event, and large-scale events catch media attention. Publicity is always some element of such gestures.
Most of the time, something that happened that we want to remember fell on that day, and so later on people used the day as commemoration. At other times, the organisers involved just wanted a good day to kick off some ceremony, and they picked this particular day because it was convenient (and probably fell on a day when none of the managers took leave), and from then on the day was declared into existence.
This is much like birthdays. Certain people are ill-fated to have birthdays that always fall around the examination period, so people are either too busy studying to celebrate with them, or they do celebrate anyway and the birthday boy or girl feels terribly guilty to have taken them off studying (and also feels guilty towards himself not to have studied). Such people will usually either celebrate early or do so late. Another interesting similarity is that people really only remember their own birthdays and the ones of those closest to them. Kinda like clubs, isn’t it?
And all these celebratory days don’t even begin counting national hols, and the death anniversaries and birthdays of important people. Everyday is significant in some way to a large proportion of the population. Don’t you sometimes stop to think, what day is today? Whose birthday is it? Is somebody breathing their last breath this very moment? It helps you get a larger sense of the world, and cherish your own minuscule, insignificant life in the big picture of things too.