June 21: Today is World Humanist Day
World Humanist Day is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually around
the world on the June solstice, which usually falls on June 21st.
According to the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), the
day is a way of spreading awareness of Humanism as a philosophical life
stance and means to effect change in the world. It is also seen as a
time for Humanists to gather socially and promote the positive values of
The holiday developed during the 1980s as several chapters of the
American Humanist Association (AHA) began to celebrate it. At the time,
the date on which it was celebrated varied from chapter to chapter, with
selections such as the founding date of the IHEU, or other significant
dates. From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, the AHA and IHEU passed
resolutions declaring World Humanist Day to be on the summer solstice.
The manner in which World Humanist Day is celebrated varies
considerably among local Humanist groups, reflecting the individuality
and non-dogmatism of Humanism as a whole. Whilst the event might be a
simple gathering, such as a dinner or picnic, with ample time for both
socialising and reflection, the method of celebration is down to the
individual Humanists. Some groups actually develop intricate social
rituals, music, and proceedings which highlight the metaphoric symbolism
of the solstice and the light (knowledge) which brings us out of
World Humanist Day has not yet become a fully celebrated holiday in
all Humanist organizations, although many of them are beginning to
recognize it and plan events and activities around the holiday.
International Humanist and Ethical Union lists several different ways
that national and local Humanist groups celebrate World Humanist Day.
For example, the Dutch Humanist Association broadcast short films about
World Humanist Day on Dutch TV in 2012. The Humanist Association of
Ireland held poetry readings in the park to celebrate the day. The
Humanists of Florida Association has recommended groups hold
Introduction to Humanism classes on World Humanist Day.
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