The 10th anniversary of National Friendship Day in The Bahamas is Wednesday, November 24, and on this day, I invite every resident to be a friend and make a friend.
National Friendship Day is designed to rekindle or cultivate and inspire long-term friendship relationships among the citizens and residents of The Bahamas. It is another avenue to rejuvenate a spirit of togetherness, respect for one another, unity and maintaining a healthy national pride. The goal is to develop in each individual the responsibility to restore and keep The Bahamas a friendly nation.
If there is a time that we need to rekindle the importance of friendship and being friendly toward everyone, it is now. The pandemic has forced us to add new meaning to friendship, and new ways to make and maintain friendships. Many are now convinced that they can have meaningful relationships and friendships without physically seeing each other every day. More of us are using our phones and computers to connect to friends and even make new friends. It is my view that wholesome friendship is what’s going to help us face the uncertainly of the coronavirus.
A quote from a Mayo Clinic article, titled, “Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health,” reads, “Friendship also plays a significant role in promoting your overall health. Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index.”
Friendship is one of the most powerful antidotes of COVID fatigue, depression and loneliness. Also, our nation is stronger when we are friends with one another. Truthfully, the pandemic has caused many friendships to end. However, I am requesting this time that we move once again toward the importance of friendship. Hence, on National Friendship Day 2021, I am inviting every citizen, resident, business and school to be involved.
HOW TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL FRIENDSHIP DAY
• I invite everyone to wear something yellow on the day to celebrate friendship.
• I am inviting all businesses to promote the day by having a friendship day sale and to simply greet all patrons with a smile and say, “Happy friendship day.”
• I invite all educational institutions to talk about friendship during an assembly or in each local classroom. Principals and presidents of schools can ask each teacher to talk about friendship with their students.
• I invite all spiritual leaders to talk about friendship during their services, whether face to face or on an online platform.
• I invite all police officers to be extra friendly that day, and greet everyone with the statement, “Happy friendship day.”
• I invite everyone to call an old friend and make a new friend on that day.
• I invite every restaurant manager to have a “friendship” item on the menu, greet everyone with “happy friendship day,” and wear something yellow.
• I invite every taxi and bus driver to greet all patrons by saying “Happy friendship day.”
• I invite every hotel or guesthouse to have yellow flowers and other yellow decorations on that day and greet everyone, “Happy friendship day.”
I think you are getting the idea. Let us all do our part in making our little nation truly a haven of friendships.
THE HISTORY OF NATIONAL FRIENDSHIP DAY
Back in 2010, I thought of an idea of promoting nationally the importance of friendship in The Bahamas. I thought we were losing the edge of truly being a friendly nation. I wondered how that could be done.
After much dreaming and deep thought, I came up with the idea of having a nationwide friendship day. Hence, at the beginning of 2011, I invited a group of 11 persons to join the Bahamas friendship council or organize the first national friendship day on the fourth Wednesday in November that year. The day was officially launched with a color ceremony on the Southern Recreation Grounds.
Truthfully, I had no idea that many countries already had a National Friendship Day until after our first celebration in 2011.
• United Nations International Friendship Day, on July 30 (Since 2011).
• Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Uruguay July 20.
• India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Pakistan, first Sunday in August.
• Bolivia, July 23.
• Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela, Estonia and Finland, February 14.
• Paraguay, July 30.
• Peru, first Saturday in July.
Let us work together to keep friendship strong and active in our country. I look forward to celebrating National Friendship Day with you.