If you were scrolling through Instagram or Twitter on July 30 and noticed a lot of mention of Friendship Day and kicked yourself for not getting a small something for your BFF, don’t sweat it. Unlike National Ice Cream Day (which is always celebrated on the third Sunday of July) or National Dog Day (firmly on August 26), Friendship Day—either National or International—can and is commemorated on more than one day of the year.
That means you’ve still got time to do something special for your friend by Friendship Day, which is sometimes celebrated on August 7—or that you can pick whichever day you like to celebrate your special bond. Whatever day you decide the celebrate, the important thing is taking a moment to tell your friends just how much they mean to you.
But they may be more surprised on some days than others, depending on which country you’re in!
The Many Faces of Friendship Day
When was the first Friendship Day celebrated? It depends on who you ask—and which country you’re in!
Hallmark takes credit for the first Friendship Day, which was initially commemorated in 1919. The day was “intended to be a day for people to celebrate their friendship by sending each other cards,” according to the experts on the subject at Days of the Year. Then, in 1935, the United States Congress designated the first Sunday in August to be “National Friendship Day.”
By 1940, though, Days of the Year notes that “the market had dried up, and eventually it died out completely.”
In 1958, though, the first day of friendship was revived when several South American nations, especially Paraguay, celebrated the first World Friendship Day.
Since then, there have been numerous days designated for the celebration of friendship—but only a few have been made legitimate through recognition from governing bodies.
For example, since 2011, July 30 has been the official date of International Day of Friendship, when “the UN encourages governments, organizations, and community groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that promote solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.”
July 30th isn’t necessarily the international standard, though. In Peru, the first Saturday in June has been commemorated since 2009. Meanwhile, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina celebrate Día del Amigo on July 20, while folks in Portugal celebrate both on the 20th and on April 18.
And many nations—particularly India, but many others, as well, including the United States—still stick with the first Sunday of August as International Friendship Day (also sometimes called Best Friends Day).
That means, even if you missed July 20 or 30, there’s still time to plan something for the August
7 International Friendship Day.
How to Celebrate Friendship Day
Regardless of what day you pick for your celebration of International Friendship Day (or Best Friends Day, or the Day of Friendship, or Take Your Friend to Work Day, or whatever other day you may choose), the most important part is celebrating it!
The General Assembly of the United Nations encourages people to engage in public action on Friendship Day, spreading goodwill throughout their community and generally raising awareness about the ways in which friendship and friendliness can shape a neighborhood, city, or even country.
Some friends may choose to give flowers, make cards, or even present small gifts to their chosen family on this day; though it may be difficult to find a Friendship Day-specific card, you could always make your own just for the occasion.
However, many people simply stick with social media, posting memories and photos of their friends and thanking them for all they’ve done. These posts can be extremely meaningful—but also fleeting.
We may be biased, but we think an AwesomeBox, created between groups of friends (whether they’re international or all live on the same block!) could be a particularly special way to celebrate Friendship Day 2016.
With so many different days to choose from when it comes to celebrating National Friendship Day (or International Friendship Day!), it’s clear that the emphasis isn’t so much on the day itself or who’s sanctioning it—it’s about taking a moment to pause your busy life and really, truly express your gratitude and appreciation for the people who are there for you when you need them, who have seen you through good times and bad, and who always keep things interesting.