International Friendship Day is a day for celebrating friendship. The day has been celebrated in several southern South American countries for many years, particularly in Paraguay, where the first World Friendship Day was proposed in 1958.
Friendship Day was originally promoted by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards
in 1930, intended to be 2 August and a day when people celebrated their
friendships by sending cards. The second of August was chosen as the
centre of the largest lull between holiday celebrations. Friendship Day
was promoted by the greeting card National Association during the 1920s
but met with consumer resistance - given that it was too obviously a
commercial gimmick to promote greetings cards. By the 1940s the number
of Friendship Day cards available in the US had dwindled and the holiday
largely died out there. There is no evidence to date for its uptake in
Europe; however, it has been kept alive and revitalised in Asia, where
several countries have adopted it.
In honor of Friendship Day in 1998, Nane Annan, wife of UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the world's
Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations. The event was
co-sponsored by the U.N. Department of Public Information and Disney
Enterprises, and was co-hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford.