National Hugging Day – One Pastor's Ingenious Idea

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By Audrey Barrick, Christian Post Reporter
January 21, 2011|4:50 pm

Today is National Hugging Day.

That's right. Give the person next to you a hug.

It was started 25 years ago by a pastor in Clio, Mich. He never expected it to become the globally recognized day that it has become today. But at the same time, it's hard to be surprised by the popularity of it given that everybody needs a hug.

"People do need positive human interaction," the Rev. Kevin Zaborney, creator of National Hugging Day, told The Christian Post. "Hugging is a safe way to do so."

Even Jesus hugged. Read Mark 10:13-16, he cited.

"Theologically speaking in the Christian community, we believe Jesus was both human and Divine. Since the human side 'wept' and encouraged the children to come to Him, it's a way to directly relate to Him," he explained. "It's not at all unreasonable to believe Jesus hugged, is it?"

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Zaborney thought of the idea while studying psychology at the University of Michigan. He said he realized "there was no such day to observe the very important act of hugging one another."

After his idea was published in Chase's Annual Events, it immediately went global.

"I was tremendously surprised," Zaborney said. In fact, he didn't expect it to go anywhere. He thought his idea would be mocked.

Today, National Hugging Day is observed worldwide. It is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and apparently the response in Germany "is enormous!" according to Zaborney.

"It is one day to encourage families and friends to be grateful for the gift of one another and of life through hugging one another."

There are currently no nationwide or global organized events for National Hugging Day, though Zaborney hopes to launch some next year. But he has seen churches participate on the Sunday nearest to National Hugging Day during their greeting times.

But National Hugging Day or not, churches already have their huggers, the now Caro, Mich., resident pointed out.

"Ask at any church who the hugger is and it would not be difficult for them to point that person, or group of people, out," he said.

According to National Hugging Day's website, this year's "most huggable people" include the Chilean miners and their rescuers who made headlines in October. The miners were trapped in a San Jose mine for over two months. Their rescue was watched and applauded by the world.

Also named the most huggable is former mountaineer and photographer Anna Sebring of Lake Stevens, Wash. The 92-year-old is the ultimate hugger. She is always asking for and giving out hugs, according to the website.

As you pass the hugs today, remember Zaborney's advice: "Always ask first!"

 

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