Some celebrations are hard to understand or can take some time to figure out. This is the exact opposite for World Smile Day, which, despite having some interesting origins, is about as simple as it can get. World Smile Day is about creating brightness for yourself and others, and these are things all of us need a little more of.
The origins of World Smile Day can be found at the hands of Harvey Bell, a famed graphic artist from Worcester, Massachusetts. Struck by what could arguably be called brilliance, or inspiration from a drawing, Bell developed the image of the now common yellow smiley face.
Now serving as a worldwide symbol for happiness, this simple yellow symbol appears everywhere. From classic films like Forrest Gump to the emotes that your grandma won’t stop overusing, the smiley face is instantly recognisable, but Bell didn’t always love it.
Approaching the end of the last millennium, Bell grew frustrated that the icon was becoming over-commercialised, so he decided to take another approach. Starting in 1999, World Smile Day was Bell’s attempt to reassert the spirit of the day, to focus more on what the symbol represented than the image itself. Though Bell is no longer with us, his move still had influence, with World Smile Day becoming a much-loved yearly event.
As one of the more official esoteric holidays, World Smile Day participants have the option of going to the website and becoming official ambassadors. While this won’t give you the authority to, say, commandeer somebody’s car in the pursuit of spreading a smile, it can give you traction if you have a big idea in mind.
Otherwise, celebrating World Smile Day is just a matter of choosing an individual or group, and figuring out how to find a smile. For some people, this could be as simple as a nice surprise dinner for a partner or your friends. For others, a better approach might be to plan a party to draw attention to a person’s achievements or just give them a way to unwind.
If you want to get a little stranger with it, you could also step outside of humanity, and bring whatever passes for a smile to the face of your pets. Sure, a dog might not use its words to thank you for a cooked steak, but you try holding back a smile when you see them finally partaking in the wondrous mystery that is human food.
World Smile Day doesn’t even have to be for another person, as looking after yourself is just as important. The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone, and it might be time to sit back and use the day as an excuse to treat yourself. A cheat day from a strict diet, a binge-watch session of your favourite show, or a few hours reading a book in the bath, there are infinite options here and none of them are wrong.
World Smile Day might not be the most ostentatious celebration we have, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s an excuse to spread love, and that’s exactly what the world needs.