Balloons to Heavens Day is on August 6, when we remember the countless lives lost to gun violence. The pain of losing a loved one never fades. It resurfaces when we least expect it – as sorrow, longing, or even comfort. One carries grief along but live with the loss you must.
Balloons to Heaven Day encapsulates all these truths and more. Releasing balloons in the sky is symbolic. Each person takes away something different from the experience. But it unites families in their sorrow, with the hope that everyone can heal together. It’s a time for families everywhere to mourn loved ones and keep up the fight to end gun violence.
History of Balloons to Heaven Day
From cultural practices to personal traditions, rituals help us make sense of the world. They articulate our deepest emotions and bring joy to life’s milestones, from the birth of a child to wedding anniversaries. When a loved one passes away, rituals can help ease the pain. Rituals allow us to pause, remember, and eventually find healing.
Symbolic acts like releasing balloons remind us that our loved ones are always with us. A quiet, meditative activity that’s at once joyful and solemn. Everything about the ritual conveys a sense of lightness. It’s the hope that those we love are at peace and gives comfort to people still grieving.
As a universal expression of feeling, releasing balloons has also become a way to deter gun violence in the U.S. Every year, more Americans die as a result of gun-related incidents. Statistics show that gun deaths in the U.S. have increased by 43% compared to the previous decade. Since Columbine, more than 292,000 students have experienced gun violence in schools.
Balloons to Heaven Day hopes to create awareness of the pain and trauma that gun violence causes to families all over the U.S. A day when we remember the senseless deaths of thousands of people, often children and young people. For families who’ve lost loved ones, it’s a day to release their spirits, send them love, and celebrate their lives. Many people write notes and attach them to the balloons before releasing them. Most importantly, balloons are visual reminders to families everywhere who are coping with grief. A reminder that they are not alone in their pain.
Balloons to Heaven Day timeline
A Mesoamerican festival celebrates and prays for the souls of those who have died.
In ‘My Love Is With You,’ Stevie Wonder sings about the trauma of gun violence from the victims' perspective.
Chicago’s National Youth Art Movement Against Gun Violence (N.Y.A.M.) initiates youth-led art projects to combat gun violence in communities.
Activists place 7,000 pairs of empty shoes outside the U.S. Capitol building to represent children lost to gun violence.
Balloons to Heaven Day FAQs
Is it OK to release balloons?
Balloons in the air eventually fall and scatter everywhere. As responsible citizens, we must weigh helium-filled balloons and dispose of them properly after a celebration.
What does releasing white balloons symbolize?
Balloon releases can symbolize various things. White balloons signify support for survivors of child sexual abuse.
Why do people release balloons after someone dies?
People cope with grief in different ways. Releasing balloons is one way for families to heal. A personal expression that could mean letting go of pain or connecting to a loved one’s spirit.
How to Observe Balloons to Heaven Day
Consider attending a balloon release event. If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to gun violence, spending time together can aid healing.
Advocate against gun violence
Speak up against gun violence. Publish a post about the day on social media and why it’s important to you.
Support victims of gun violence
Help grieving families feel seen and heard. Attend balloon release events in solidarity or look up organizations working for the welfare of those left behind. Today’s the day to reach out and help.
5 Facts About Balloons That Will Blow Your Mind
Balloons originated in ancient China
In 220 A.D., the Chinese invented floating lanterns that signaled messages during battles.
Balloons for the planet
Modern latex balloons are biodegradable and go up to over five km in the air.
The first rubber balloon
During one of his experiments, Scientist Michael Faraday made rubber bags filled with gas to study it.
Balloons for military strategies
Napoleon used balloons for observation during battles, as did most military during WWI.
Balloons in surgeries
During angioplasty, doctors insert balloons into blocked blood vessels to help clear the build-up inside.
Why Balloons to Heaven Day is Important
A day for healing
A new day. Another opportunity to heal. Whether you prefer reminiscing or releasing balloons, the goal is to attempt to deal with grief.
Sharing grief makes it easier
Rituals unite those who are grieving through shared experiences. It’s a reminder that they’re not alone.
The good fight
Today we’re reminded to ask the right questions and find solutions. Research shows that mass shootings are mainly because of easy access to guns and not of a society’s baseline violence levels.
Balloons to Heaven Day dates