eHow Extras Blog

Happy National Hug Day: 21 Photos to Celebrate the Day


A few quick facts about National Hug Day…

It’s an annual, but unofficial event which was started by Rev. Kevin Zaborney in Caro, Michigan.

Even though it’s not technically a holiday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has recognized January 21 as National Hug Day since 1986.

Zaborney chose the date January 21 the day falls somewhere in between Christmas/New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. He thought people seemed a little depressed after the holidays so the day was born.

In an interview with People, he said, “American society is embarrassed to show feelings in public” and he hoped National Hugging Day to change that.

Did you know a 10-second hug lowers blood pressure due to a level increase of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, while stress chemicals, including cortisol, drop. (Even with trees, I suppose.)

Oh yeah, Zaborney has made a point to ask the person you want to hug if you can hug them. In these crazy times—especially at the office—National Hug Day must be a Human Relations department nightmare.

More health benefits: It has been found that hugs improve both psychological and physical development.

Babies who get consistent hugs and other physical contact gain weight and grow faster than those who are neglected.


Need to advertise that you’re pro-hugger? Wear this bear image as a shirt (available here) and prepare for up to, but not limited to, 65% more hugs.

In another study at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, psychologist Karen Grewen found that adults who had no contact with people had higher blood pressure and heart rate.

Even models in bizarre stock photography sessions can benefit from a nice hug.

And if all else fails and you can’t find anyone to hug, create a “free hugs” sign. That’ll work like a voodoo charm.

All photos: Getty Images

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