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Today is the first ever “International Day of Happiness”, as declared by the United Nations.

The aim of the day is to acknowledge the importance of happiness as a universal objective, as the UN put it:. “The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”. According to their report, all 193 of their members voted in favour of the day.

They encourage countries from around the world to observe the day through public-awareness events and education activities.

The day was created after a Bhutanese concept, coined by the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck. In the 1970s, the country adopted the goal of “Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.”

The initiative involves taking a ‘holistic approach’ to development and applies equal importance to non-economic aspects of life. Despite huge development in the last decades, Bhutan still has very low literacy rates and life expectancy. However, in 2006, Business Week – which compiled data from several studies – ranked Bhutan as the 8th happiest nation in the world.

Recently more and more governments are including elements such as ‘happiness’ in measures of prosperity and last year the UN also released their World Happiness Report.

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said: “On this first International Day of Happiness, let us reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

How did you celebrate?

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