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World Humanist Day is a Humanist holiday celebrated annually around the world 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 Humanism.
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 June 21st, on or around the summer solstice.
Format and Activities
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 darkness (ignorance).
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. One example is the Campus Freethought Alliance, which holds its annual conference on that day. In another example, 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.
- IHEU page on World Humanist Day
- Secular Seasons page on World Humanist Day
- Spiritual Humanist Ceremony for World Humanist Day
- Skepticfiles.org Detailed Order of Service for World Humanist Day