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National Hugging Day

Updated on September 14, 2014

National Hugging Day

January 21st is National Hugging Day... So Spread your arms and find someone to SQUEEZE.

I know what you must be thinking, "what kind of stupid made up holiday is this?"

But, WAIT!!!

Its actually pretty cool. National Hug Day, a.k.a National Hugging Day is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It's a great way to show someone you care or to make someone you know feel special. It is about sharing LOVE and PEACE with humans or maybe your favorite pet! Who cares who... WE just got to get out there and make a difference and put some smiles on faces.

Giving someone a hug can bring an instant smile to anyone's face. And let's face it! It just FEELS SO GOOD.

Photo Credit: ATFSNC

Free Hugs T-Shirts

National Hugging Day
National Hugging Day

National Hugging Day History

So you must be wondering, "How did this wonderful Holiday begin?"

Glad you asked, let me tell you. It all started 26 years ago by Pastor Kevin Zaborney. He came up with the idea while studying at the University of Michigan, "there was no such day to observe the very important act of hugging one another." His ideas was published in Chase's Annual Events and it really took off. Since then, National Hug Day has spread to Canada, England, Australia, Germany and Poland.It was recognized a National Holiday on January 21st, 1986.

Today National Hugging Day is celebrated Worldwide. According to Zaborney, "It is one day to encourage families and friends to be grateful for the gift of one another and of life through hugging one another."

As you pass out hugs on National Hugging Day, remember Zaborney's advice: "Always ask first!"

"A hug is a universal medicine, it is how we handshake from the heart." -Anonymous

How many hugs will you give on National Hugging Day?

See results

FREE HUGS Campaign

The Free Hugs campaign was started by a young guy in Australia named Juan Mann back in 2004. Apparently, Mann was feeling sort of depressed and noticed that a hug made him feel so much better. And that is basically how this hugging frenzy began. Mann would stand on the streets of Australia holding a very simple sign which read FREE HUGS. Many people just passed him by because quite frankly he must have looked like some kind of freak, standing there with that sign. However, one women did not think so and walked right up to him to receive her free hug. That was the beginning of this hugging movement.

Naturally, there was opposition from the authorities for this random Hugging and Mann was ordered to stop hugging people immediately. A lot of attention was received for the FREE HUGS Campaign and Mann ended up on the Oprah show giving everyone hugs including Oprah.

Mann has since retired from his FREE HUGS Campaign, but the spirit lives on. The FREE HUGS campaign is a story worth remembering and should be a part of National Hugging Day. It is quite a simple message about kindness and love and reaching out to others. It is a true random act of kindness.

Free Hugs Campaign Video - Song by Sick Puppies

This video is one of the most viewed with over 71 million views.

“A hug is like a boomerang - you get it back right away.” — Bill Keane

Couple Hugging
Couple Hugging | Source

Type of Hugs

What do these hugs mean?

There really many different types of hugs and they all have different meanings. I have included a few types and what they mean as far as the body language involved.

Lean and Pat

Standing over a foot apart the individuals simply lean in toward one another and embrace while patting each other on the back. This type of hug really says I do not know you very well or I feel awkward. This hug is truly anti-social and after receiving one of these hugs, I usually wish I hadn't even bothered.

The Went in for a Handshake Came Out a Hug

This is a common hug you most likely have found yourself in. You extend your hand for a handshake and the next thing you know, you are embraced in a hug with someone you really do not know very well at all. Talk about awkward moments.

The Won't Let Go

You are embraced in a hug and wondering when this going to be over. You are just standing there at the mercy of the hugger waiting for a release. I remember this hug quite often when I was a child visiting my Great Aunt in a nursing home. And the elderly patients would be so excited to see a child, which caused them to want a hug. It all seems harmless enough. Anyway, they would latch on and I just stood there very awkwardly waiting for them to let me go. Unfortunately, that uncomfortable feeling is etched in my brain forever. I think parents should think twice about letting strangers hug there children regardless of how innocent it may be. A hug should really be engaged by two willing participants.

Cheek to Cheek Hug

A cute hug shared among friends, typically of the female gender. It is simply done by pressing your cheeks together with no arms or body contact, while both parties are facing forward. This hug makes for some really great photo ops.

Heart Hug

This is a true hug which comes from the heart. The embrace is tight and your bodies are closely pressed together. After this hug there is a definite connection between the huggers. This is the hug of all hugs!

Hey I haven't seen you in Ages

You just notice someone you have not seen in a long time and you run up to them and loosely wrap both your arms around them. This hug lasts only a few seconds and ends with a few laughs and the question; How are you?

Bear Hug

This is the type of hug children give. It is a fully body hug with your arms wrapped tightly around someone. This hug lasts a bit longer and sometimes accompanied by a rocking motion. It should be a gentle squeeze; if it is too hard it becomes a Python hug, which is a squeeze so tight that you cannot breathe. I love bear hugs and am fortunate to receive this type of hug from my son on a daily basis.

Fake Hug (a.k.a. Let's Get This Over With As Fast as Possible Hug)

Everyone with a sibling will remember this hug quite well. Remember when your mother made you apologize and hug your brother or sister after an argument or fight. In this hug the participants stand as far apart as possible while being able to lean in and grab the others shoulders. This hug is super fast and over in a nanosecond.

Hugging Between Men and Women

Hugging between members of the opposite sex are usually initiated by women. Depending on the intensity and duration of this hug, it can signify an attraction, friendship or love.

Women Hugging Women

It is very common for women to hug each other to express friendship or warmth. This type of hug can be followed with a kiss on the cheek or more touching. Since hugging is considered a feminine act by society this type of hugging is widely accepted.

Men Hugging Men

A handshake is preferred due to many cultural differences. However when a hug between two men does take place, it is typically short with very little or no body contact. The handshake hug is typically how a hug between men begins and ends with some serious backslapping.

Photo Credit: GaryKnight


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Hugging is a wonderful way to show affection to those you love, but also to show support to our friends and others around us. Hugging is a necessary part of human life. It strengthens relationships with our loved ones. However, an individual lacking hugs can show some signs of emotional stress.

Hugging is definitely a hot trend among the younger set and may be replacing a percentage of the the customary handshake. However, there are rules associated with hugging, a sort of hugging etiquette.

Respect an individuals space.

You can quickly tell by someones body language if they are a pro-hugger or an anti-hugger. Cultures, age, gender and family background play a significant role in how an individual feels about hugging. So be sure to watch the signs.

Always ask permission before hugging someone, unless you know them really well.

Never just assume it is okay to give someone a hug. If you have to ask you probably should not do it.

Remember the 3 second rule

A friendly hug is a quick hug, anything over 3 seconds you are entering into the a more passionate embrace. Which should be reserved between two romantic partners.

Good hygiene is essential.

Take the sniff test. After after a good workout may not be the best time to pass out a hug. Bad smells can be quite offensive to someone else.

Hugs in the workplace

Handshaking is much more acceptable in today's workplace. Unless of course if you know the co-worker very well. With all the Sexual Harassment cases, tread very lightly in this arena.

Good Hugs

A study conducted by the Amercan Psychosomatic Society claims, that just a brief hug and 10 minutes of hand holding with a romantic partner also greatly reduces the harmful physical effects of stress.

Benefits of Hugging - Hugging Can Heal a Broken Heart

National Hugging Day
National Hugging Day

Did you know that hugging is good for your health.

A study conducted by the American Psychosomatic Society claims "A brief hug and 10 minutes of hand holding with a romantic partner also greatly reduces the harmful physical effects of stress." Hugging is essential for healthy social and psychological development and is something we need each and everyday. Hugging is also good for the immune system and is said to decrease the risk for Heart Disease.

From the moments of birth we experience our first hug from our mothers, and throughout our lives. When we fell and skinned our knees, our Mothers would hug us and tell us everything would be better and she was right. As we grew and times were difficult, Mom was there again with her arms around us. The safe wonderful feeling you felt from a mothers embrace is part of the beautiful person you have became.

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Celebrate with some Hugs and Kisses!

Hug Quotes

National Hugging Day
National Hugging Day

Here are some quotes about hugging which you may enjoy. The first one is my personal favorite.

"A hug a day keeps the psychiatrist away." ~ Dawn Juhas

A hug is like a boomerang - you get it back right away. ~Bil Keane, "Family Circus"

Millions and millions of years would still not give me half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around me and I put my arms around you. ~Jacques Prévert

You can't wrap love in a box, but you can wrap a person in a hug. ~Author Unknown

Hug Department: Always Open ~Author Unknown

I love hugging. I wish I was an octopus, so I could hug ten people at a time. ~Drew Barrymore

Arm ourselves for war? No! All the arms we need are for hugging. ~Author Unknown

A hug is a handshake from the heart. ~Author Unknown

A hug delights and warms and charms,that must be why God gave us arms.~Author Unknown

A hug is the shortest distance between friends. ~Author Unknown

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange. ~Author Unknown

A kiss without a hug is like a flower without the fragrance. ~Proverb

Photo Credit: ATFSNC

Childrens Books about Hugs

A Book of Hugs
A Book of Hugs

A loveable tale about the pure beauty of a simple gesture.


XOXO Meaning...

How did XOXO come to mean Hugs and Kisses?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first X appeared in literary works in 1901. However, the title of the work is not mentioned. Apparently there are two different views on which letter signifies which action. Some claim the X represents the crossed arms of a hug and that the O as the puckered lips of a kiss. While this could be true, I think the other way seems to make much more sense and is also the more common interpretation of the two.

X Marks the Spot with a Kiss

You are familiar with sign here at the X. There was a time in history when people did not use signatures, instead they wrote the letter X. The X represented the Christian cross and is also the first letter of the Greek Word for Christ, Xristos. The "X" signified a sworn oath between two parties at a time before most people knew how to write. It was a mark of honor and their word.

Sealed with a Kiss

Everyone is familiar with this phrase. At the end of the document the "X" was placed and a kiss was planted directly on the "X." This was a seal of honesty. And is relevant to the way a bible is kiss or when you kiss the fingers after making a Christian cross.

Orgins of the "O" are a bit more of a Mystery

It has been said that the O's could represent two arms in a circle held around another person forming a hug.

I found this meaning to be much more interesting. According to Leo Rosten's, "The Joys of Yiddish" Illiterate Jewish immigrants used an "O" when signing documents to avoid the Christian cross mark which was the "X".

Photo:Languages Alive

Don't Forget!

Get out there and let your family and friends know how they make you feel and give them a BIG HUG!

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National Hug Day

A Birthday Hug for My Friend

I am dedicating this Lens to my dear Friend Melanie who shares her birthday on this fabulous Hugging Day! I know I can always count on her, when I need a Hug. Happy Birthday Mel, I love you! XOXO

Thanks for visiting and come back often.

What do you think of National Hug Day?

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    • wiseriverman profile image


      5 years ago

      I can hardly wait. I need a hug.

    • PamelaPamela profile image


      5 years ago

      Boo, I missed it! :( Good thing hugs are good everyday! Thanks for sharing!

    • Scotties-Rock profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      @WebWriteGirl LM: Thanks! It is such a great day one which everyone should celebrate everyday! :)

    • WebWriteGirl LM profile image

      WebWriteGirl LM 

      5 years ago

      What an awesome lens!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      5 years ago from Canada

      National hugging day is almost here and I can hardly wait. I forgot to get mistletoe this year so I guess I'll need a couple extra hugs this year. The very best of wishes for a wonderful New Year. I hope you truly are blessed with plenty.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      I have seen videos before about Free Hugs. It's nice to know that there is a National Hug Day. {{hugs}}

    • victoriahaneveer profile image


      5 years ago

      I love your descriptions of the different types of hugs!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hugs are great, we need them everyday!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      so sweet..great lens.

    • karen-stephens profile image


      5 years ago

      Never heard of this in Canada. Great ideas. Angel Blessings! xxo

    • Scotties-Rock profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      @Cari Kay 11: Thanks for visiting. And yes I agree, sometimes all it takes is a hug to make life brighter.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image


      5 years ago

      Hugs are an important part of our day to day lives! Great pics here! Blessed!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      How on earth could I not have known about this fantastic holiday before now??? You did a fantastic job of introducing me to it. Now I'm off to write it into my calendar for next year! Congrats on the purple star award, and BIG HUGS to you!!! Blessed by a Squid Angel. :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 

      5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love the photos you picked. Look forward to January and National Hug Day.

    • Scotties-Rock profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      @LiteraryMind: Thanks for visiting! Don't forget to spread the hugs on National Hug Day! :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Ha I did not realize that there were so very many different ways to hug someone. A great big teddy bear hug to you. Hugs.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love this idea of "hugging day"! Surely, I'll be keeping this date!

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 

      6 years ago

      I feel very snuggy wuggy. Sorry I missed it this year. Well, that gives me a lot of time to practice for next year.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the concept and would warmly embrace rolling out National Hug Day to every day of thine year.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 

      6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      I be lucky! Everyday is hugging day at our house!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Hugs are good, anytime! Thanks for the smile! And, for visiting my Easter Egg lens! ;-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The world would be a happier place if more people hugged! *blessed by a squid angel*

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great idea. I'm going to hug my wife right now. She's in the next room.

    • SophiaStar LM profile image

      SophiaStar LM 

      6 years ago

      Everyday should be National Hug day:) wonderful lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      love this day.. :)

      hug from me..

      and thank you for sharing..

    • GoodGirlSEO profile image


      6 years ago

      I love national hug day. It's one of my favorite holidays. I wish more people would participate! Maybe your lens will get the word out!

    • bechand profile image


      6 years ago

      never heard of this holiday - darn i missed it - I wish I didn't - I love hugs !!! Will hope to remember it next year - thanks for sharing - everyone that loves hugs deserves to be blessed *** :O)

    • sousababy profile image


      6 years ago

      I think it's a wonderful idea (as long as both parties are agreeable). Congrats on your purple star too!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      We live in a very alienated world. We don't need Hug Day, but Hug Year or even decade... Hugs!

    • allenwebstarme profile image


      6 years ago

      Hey! Fantastic lens, I been looking this type of lens, I want Indian Gov. also start National Hug Day, it's truly necessary for now a days. I want to hug million people in my life genuinely. Super like!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      I'm pretty huggy with those I love. I need to give and receive hugs, or I feel terrible after awhile. Good thing there's no hug shortage around my house.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I missed the official National Hug Day but around here any day will do.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful article. I've always been a fan of hugs and real kisses (those air kisses are just silly). I have an Australian Shepherd who gives the best hug of any dog. He wraps me in his paws and lays his head on my chest. Warms me from tip to toe. Blessing this beautiful lens.

    • kathysart profile image


      6 years ago

      Yay for hugging.. free hugs everywhere I love it. Angel blessed lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I know these hug activities, and I met once in my city.

      I am not very comfortable about this at first. However, it may be a small act which give more warm in cold city.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Stopping by on National Hug Day to give you HUGs, blessings, and a bit o' sunshine!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      6 years ago from USA

      Happy Hugs!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      6 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Angel Blessings and hugs to you!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome lens, this was so cute!! I'll have to mark my calendar for national hug day :) horrah!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love it! What a wonderful lens! Makes me look forward to hug day even more now. Blessed by a SquidAngel!


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