It’s World Hello Day!

There are lots of things to love about November. Cool, crisp mornings. Warm, cuddly clothes. A lovely fire in the hearth. And hints of cinnamon spice everywhere.

I recently learned that today, November 21, is annual World Hello Day. At first it seemed like a made-up trifle akin to National Pickle Day (which was actually last Tuesday). But after researching the origins and purpose of this holiday, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong.

World Hello Day

World Hello Day was created in 1973 by two young brothers, Brian and Michael McCormack, as a panacea for the Arab-Israeli war known as the Yom Kippur War. Gathering all the money they had at the time, these two bought postage and sent out letters to as many world leaders as they could and asked them to support this new holiday.

from Pete Seeger

Within the first 12 months of their campaign, the results were overwhelming. World leaders, educators, Nobel Laureates, show biz celebrities and other luminaries responded. And in the last 50 years, they have managed to gather the support of 180 countries.

It’s interesting to read the thoughts of people like James Michener, Colin Powell, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, and Whoopi Goldberg on the subject. My favorite replies are the little ditty that Pete Seeger offered, a wacky postcard from David Sedaris, and a heartfelt letter from the Idyllwilde Elementary School in Florida.

You can read more of these interesting letters here:

How to Celebrate

World Hello Day is a good opportunity to express our concern for world peace. According to the organization’s website, anyone can celebrate simply by saying hello to at least ten people. Friends and family count. Extra points if you greet a stranger, or say hello in a different language. And if you’re inspired to encourage a world or community leader to settle a conflict, go for it.

It seems a bit Pollyanna-ish to think that the simple act of saying hello can lead to world peace. And, we may feel silly saying hello to a perfect stranger. But we can start by greeting the nearly invisible people we encounter in an ordinary day: the checkout clerk at the grocery store, the people we pass on the sidewalk, someone we’re sharing an elevator with or sitting next to at the theater.

Acknowledging another human being’s existence can go a long way toward recognizing that we’re all in this crazy world together. At any rate, that’s the philosophy of the McCormack brothers, and they’re trying to make a difference. Why not try it, too?

And while you’re at it, say hello to Book #3 in the Samantha Newman Series, The Body in the News. I’m overjoyed (and relieved) that it’s finally out there!

Who have you said hello to today?

Gay Yellen‘s award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries include The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and The Body in the News!  Now available on Amazon.

8 replies
  1. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    What a great initiative–World Hello Day! It reminds me of something we did as high school administrators, encouraging all adults in the school to greet students during passing periods throughout each day, spreading care, concern, compliments, and other good cheer. The good vibes were contagious and taught us that little initiatives can become important in creating a positive climate. If it worked in a school, why not in a country, or in a world?

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