SF Rec and Park Celebrates International Day of Happiness 2015

Spread Happiness in City Parks

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department announced today the celebration of International Day of Happiness (IODH) 2015.  The celebration will include lighting Coit Tower yellow for the night.   The Empire State Building in New York City will also be lit up in yellow.  Both iconic buildings, standing tall in the skylines of each coast, will serve as a reminder of the importance of happiness in our lives.


March 20 has been established as the annual “holiday” for International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.


“SF Rec and Park has always championed for meaningful social connection through sports and healthy recreation because we know this not only makes us healthy but also happy,” said Phil Ginsburg, SF Rec and Park General Manager.  “So let’s get out, connect with each other and spread happiness in our parks!”


After years of happiness research, one thing has proved fundamental – the importance of one’s connections with other people is central to happiness.  Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking; and the epidemic of loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.  Experts say that this could change if each day everyone reached out and made at least one positive connection.  In pursuit of this mission, a group of optimistic rebels, including happiness organizations from around the globe, have been uniting together to raise both awareness of happiness as a cause and awareness of this new Happy Holiday.

“Our hope is that lighting the Empire State Building and Coit Tower becomes an annual tradition which other cities can participate in by lighting up monuments around the globe in honor, awareness, and solidarity of International Day of Happiness,” said Riley John Donnell, artist and activist who created the Light Up Yellow campaign and has collaborated with Pantone to create International Optimism Yellow.  “This new global Happy Holiday, the Light Up Campaign, and the unifying color of yellow are reminders that Happiness is a Cause and a Universal right, one which must become a priority for governments around the globe if we are to evolve into a better, brighter world.”


And as for why yellow has been chosen to be the color symbolizing happiness, Pantone Color Institute has an explanation.


“No matter where we live in the world, yellow is eternally associated with the welcoming warmth of the sun.  It’s perceived by children and adults alike as the color of a sunny day, beckoning us to come out and play,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.  “It is the symbolic color of hope, joy, optimism, and, above all, happiness.”


A profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world. People are now recognizing that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.  In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognized happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples”.


In 2012 the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place and the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which decreed that the International Day of Happiness would be observed every year on 20 March.  It was celebrated for the first time in 2013.


For more information about International Day of Happiness, please visit http://www.dayofhappiness.net/#happiness.



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