There is not much literature on Friendship Day history as we celebrate today. However, there are numerous folktales and several instance in mythological legends that shows that friends and friendship have been valued since the beginning of civilized world. As an intrinsically social creature, men love to make friends to further this process of socialization.
History of Friendship Day in US -
Considering the valuable role friends play in our life it was deemed to fit to have a day dedicated to friends and friendship. The United States Congress, in 1935, proclaimed first Sunday of August as the National Friendship Day. Since then, celebration of National Friendship Day became an annual event. The noble idea of honoring the beautiful relationship of friendship caught on with the people and soon Friendship Day became a hugely popular festival.
Following the popularity and success of Friendship Day in US, several other countries adopted the tradition of dedicating a day to friends. Today, Friendship Day is enthusiastically celebrated by several countries across the world including India. In 1997, the United Nations named Winnie - the Pooh as the world's Ambassador of Friendship.
Importance of Friendship in Bible -
The Bible, the primary text of the western civilization, reflects upon friendship as the bond that forms the foundation to human faith, trust and companionship. Following verses from the bible aptly portray the importance of friends:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7
“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13-15
Besides, there are several tales from the Old Testament and the New Testament about the value of friendship and how true friendship is a treasure to unearth. A noticeable point is that, both the versions make a difference between the two broad meanings of friendship- one is a mere acquaintance, the other is a more affectionate relation.
In the Old Testament, Abraham is called the “friend of God” because of the intimacy of his relations. God speaks to Moses face to face “as a man…unto his friend” (Ex 33:11). The romantic friendship of Ruth and Naomi, the devotion of the subordinate Hushai for David, or the mutual relation between David and Jonathan - the Old Testament is replete with these interesting tales of friends and friendship.
In the New Testament, the relationship between Jesus and his disciples clearly depicts how human friendship can constantly grow. From being teacher and disciple, to lord and servant their relationship finally grew to an unparalleled friendship.
Importance of Friendship in Mahabharata -
In the famous Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’, Lord Krishna demonstrates the many colors of friendship - affection, romance, brotherhood, protection, guidance, intimacy and even teasing. Friendship is all about these and much more.