While it might seem easy to simply write off the International Day of Peace as a “made up” holiday without any real tradition behind it, remember that every holiday started somewhere. It takes time before any new holiday actually takes hold. Furthermore, if simply hearing about the holiday inspires more individuals to consider the reasons behind it and perhaps adjust their thinking or perhaps take new actions towards peace, then the holiday has served its ultimate goals.
The International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations in 1981, to be the same day as the start of that year’s General Assembly. In 2002, the official date for the holiday was later shifted to permanently be on September 21 of each year.
The purpose of the holiday is ambitious in scope, even though it’s also quite simple and straightforward; to recognize and foster peace around the world. The U.N discussions leading up to creation of the holiday put it this way:
“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization … reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”
Every year more and more people all around the world celebrate the International Day of Peace. Many communities have organized activities and celebrations where people can come together to celebrate, and try to further the ideals of peace.
If there are no events scheduled in your area on the next International Day of Peace, consider starting one yourself. It’s easy to go to your local library or community center and reserve a space for purposes of a Peace Day commemorative event. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to build support for your event within your community.
Even though the International Day of Peace was originally intended to foster peace among different peoples, many have begun to use the holiday as an opportunity to look inward, at the personal conflict we may find ourselves facing on a daily basis. When an individual is able to lead a peaceful life, they are better able to carry this peace forward with them into the world, and make the world a more peaceful place.
There’s another important aspect to raising levels of peace in the world and within you, and that’s removing conflicts. Of course, the nature of a conflict depends on its scope. In the world as a whole, taking steps to reduce conflict as part of your international Day of peace celebration might be to become more politically active against wars and armed conflicts. On a personal level, it might mean addressing long-standing issues that you may have family members or close friends. In any case, the goal is to remove the negative factors that prevent you from living your life peacefully.