Crack a Smile: It's International Happiness Day

But watch out: Someone may be planning to give you a free hug

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 20, 2013 8:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – The UN has been pretty busy of late: Amid all its heavy boozing and business-class flying, it managed to name today the world's first International Day of Happiness. And, warning, some people around the globe are planning to observe it in a pretty in-your-face way, reports the New York Times. In Washington, DC, a "free hugs flash mob" plans to strike; London commuters will be greeted with happiness-themed signs at Liverpool Street station. The day, which has its own website and hashtag (#HappyDay), was suggested by Bhutan, which takes happiness pretty seriously; it measures the mood of its own citizens via a Happiness Index.

The Times notes that the day isn't making everyone feel warm and fuzzy though: Le Monde complains that the UN already has 120 days earmarked to observe everything from jazz to rural women. Writing for the Guardian, Nic Marks understands the reasoning of those who feel the UN should worry more about things like North Korea and Syria, but argues that "happiness is a serious 21st-century global issue," with unhappiness breeding crime-filled neighborhoods and less productive businesses. "How on earth are we going to create political, economic, and social systems that support nine billion people to live in harmony with each other and the one planet we all share?"

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