International Day of Families – History and Significance

International Family Day - History and Significance

The family is the smallest building block of society, and no doubt, the most important one as well! Having strong familial bonds provides support and a safe environment which are necessary for an individual’s development.

When is World Family Day Celebrated?

World Family Day date falls every year on the 15th of May and is celebrated in nations around the world. The United Nations and Universal Peace Federation are the main driving forces behind the celebration. They are backed by the governments of several countries who organise activities and events pertaining to the occasion.

The History of International Day of Families

In 1993, the United Nations passed a resolution to showcase the determination of the organisation to encourage better living standards and social progress of families across the globe. In 1994, the United Nations officially declared the International Day of Families in response to the changing economic and social structures that are affecting the stability and structure of family units in different parts of the world. International Day of Families basically celebrates the fact that families are the central part of any society.

The International Day of Families

Why is World Family Day Celebrated?

This day is celebrated with a dual purpose in mind – to raise awareness of the significance of families and the different aspects that are negatively affecting this unit. It acknowledges the power and abilities of what is considered the most basic unit of society in several parts of the world. Each year, the day is used as a launch pad to highlight the issues plaguing families and the appropriate actions individuals, societies, and the governments can take in order to resolve said issues. The day is also used to showcase how a strengthened family unit eventually helps strengthen societies and nations.

International Day of Families – the Symbol

The symbol of the International Day of Families comprises of a solid green circle with a red image of a schematic drawing element of a house and a heart in the centre of the circle. This powerful symbol denotes the safe and supportive environment a family can provide to people of all age groups.

World Family Day Themes

Each year, the United Nations decides upon a theme for the International Day of Families. This helps to define the overall direction of the issues that will be highlighted. The theme changes each year depending on new challenges and developments. This year’s theme is ‘Families and Climate Action’. The different themes in the past are as follows:

  • Families and Inclusive Societies – 2018
  • Families, Education and Well-being – 2017
  • Families, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Future – 2016
  • Men in Charge? Gender Equality and Children’s Rights in Contemporary Families – 2015
  • Families Matter for the Achievement of Development Goals – 2014
  • Advancing Social Integration and Inter-generational Solidarity – 2013
  • Ensuring Work-Family Balance – 2012
  • Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion – 2011
  • The Impact of Migration on Families Around the World – 2010
  • Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World – 2009
  • Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges – 2008
  • Families and Persons with Disabilities – 2007
  • Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities – 2006
  • HIV/AIDS and Family Well-being – 2005
  • The Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family: A Framework for Action – 2004
  • Preparations for the observance of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004 – 2003
  • Families and Ageing: Opportunities and Challenges – 2002
  • Families and Volunteers: Building Social Cohesion – 2001
  • Families: Agents and Beneficiaries of Development – 2000
  • Families for All Ages – 1999
  • Families: Educators and Providers of Human Rights – 1998
  • Building Families Based on Partnership – 1997
  • Families: First Victims of Poverty and Homelessness – 1996

How is World Family Day Celebrated Around the World?

The International Day of Families is celebrated in different ways across the globe. In some communities, public officials arrange for discussions and discourses on the various challenges faced by families in said communities. Some countries plan their activities and events organised based on the particular theme set by the United Nations. Individuals also choose to celebrate this day by spending time with their family. While this day is considered important by governments across the globe, the day is not a public holiday.

International Family Day celebrations

World Family Day in India is also celebrated in a big way with various organisations and companies also joining in on the celebrations. Here, the objectives of observing this occasion are to celebrate the bonds in a family and to raise awareness regarding the issues families face. Companies organise events for their employees and their families. This allows family members of the employees to understand the company culture and form bonds with other people in the company. Events include games, music shows, and dance performances.

How Can You Celebrate Family Day?

Indians are brought up with a strong connection with their families no matter which section of society they belong to. In fact, many Indians still live in the joint family setup based on patrilinear lines. There is a large need for awareness of the various problems faced by families in Indian society for which this day could prove to be a great opportunity. There are many ways in which you can celebrate International Day of Families.

  • This is a great day to spend time with your family. You can set up activities for your family like board games, singing competitions and more. Make this day about bonding with your family.
  • You can ask various family members to talk about any issues they might be facing. Ensure that the conversation takes place in a safe space and let everyone know that they will not be reprimanded for speaking their mind.
  • Use this opportunity to establish any support channels the family might need; for example, a child may be feeling quite pressured due to his piling schoolwork and may require more support from the family. Let the family come together and create solutions as a family.

Conversations between family members

  • You can use this day as a great excuse to create memories. Plan a photo shoot with family members. You can get as creative as you’d like to with props or even have it at a location that means something to your family.
  • You can also celebrate this day with people who are part of your society and daily life by organising a street party with other families in your neighbourhood. This is a great way to connect with your community.
  • Use this day as an opportunity to teach your family about community service. You can sign up with community outreach programs and help other impoverished families on this day.
  • If you are away from your family, then reach out to your friends who might be in a similar situation. It is important that you create a community for yourself that will support you and share your joys. Do not underestimate the power of creating your own family whose bonds are based on trust and love.

Families are one of the most important aspects of any society. It is here that children are taught how to interact and integrate with other members of society. Elders are supported by their families as well. It is important to take the time to nurture familial bonds and address issues faced by families. If a family unit is happy and healthy, the individual members of such a family are sure to become healthy and contributing members of society.

Also Read:

Importance of Maintaining Healthy Family Relationships
Interesting Family Games to Have Fun Together
Role of Family in Child Development