World Kindness Day
World Kindness Day is 13 November. This was the opening day of the first World Kindness Movement® conference held at Tokyo in 1998, and the 35th anniversary of the Small Kindness Movement of Japan, which brought the signatories of the ‘declaration of kindness’ of the World Kindness Movement together in 1997.
The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realise we are citizens of the world. As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realise that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavours, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common. When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people. While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.
Sometimes knowledge is passed on to us about different races, different cultures, that has become distorted, and we build up a false, negative impression of these people. It is only when we get to know such people that we realise it is a lie.
Another form of separation is in those people who fail to let go of transgressions that have occurred in the past. This also applies to some groups, where bitterness from many hundreds of years ago has been passed down though generations, and hatred becomes a normal reaction to thoughts of, or association with, the other group of people. The recent genocide in Europe is a tragic example of this. There is a need to let go of past transgressions if we are to live in peace. While we cannot change the past, we can ensure such things never happen again.
World Kindness Day is about being kind to the world. The ‘Lonely Planet’ not only refers to a travel guide, it is descriptive of the Earth – the only planet in our solar system known to be teeming with life. It’s all we have, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to make it the nicest place to live, because it’s the only place we have to live. Yet all we’ve done since the dawn of civilisation is to destroy anything that stands in our way. And what price do we place on the homeless, the brutalised, the addicted, the downtrodden, the impoverished, and the ever widening gap between the wealthy and the needy? Isn’t it time everyone began thinking more about others and less about themselves? There is an obsession in society for a number of things, one of them is the accumulation of material wealth, far beyond that required to live a comfortable life. The power that wealth brings seems to be irresistible to some. But it can have a down side, and we hear from time to time about the principles of such people becoming a casualty.
It is observed in many countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Singapore observed the day for the first time. Italy and India also observed the day. In the UK it is fronted by Louise Burfitt-Dons who co-founded Kindness Day UK.
According to Gulf News, 'it is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion'
In 2009, 45,000 flowers were given away in Singapore.