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Today is Hugging Day

National Hugging Day is celebrated on January 21st of each year and was created by Rev. Kevin Zaborney. It is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but is not a public holiday. The holiday was founded on January 21, 1986 in Caro, Michigan, and has since spread to multiple different countries. The purpose for the holiday is to help everyone show more emotion in public. There is only one way you are supposed to celebrate the holiday, offer a hug to anyone and everyone you want. While National Hugging Day and the Free Hugs Campaign share many similarities, there is not actual association between the two. Whether you hug a family member or a stranger, the mental and physical health benefits are the same.

Kevin Zaborney is credited for creating the unique holiday in 1986. The date of January 21 was chosen because it marks a midpoint between Christmas and Valentines Day, where people are figured to be at their emotional low. The holiday was created because Zaborney felt like Americans are embarrassed to show their feelings in public and hoped that a National Hug Day would change that. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School has found that French couples spend 3 times as much time touching when compared to Americans. Because of this apprehension to show feeling, Zaborney assumed his idea wouldn’t go anywhere and that he would be mocked. National Hug Day is not a public holiday recognized by the United States Federal government, and since Zaborney holds the patent for the day, he is able to collect commercial royalties associated with National Hug Day.