Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

Hug Day – February 12, 2023

Hug Day is celebrated on the sixth day of Valentine’s Week — February 12. It’s hard to deny the power a simple hug can have over our moods and general well-being. It’s amazing how such a simple gesture can just melt your troubles away. You hug someone to celebrate their highest of highs and to soothe them during their lowest of lows. Hugs help lower stress, increase mutual trust, and lower blood pressure, among so many other benefits. Hug a person you love today — it’s free!

History of Hug Day

Approximately 450 years ago, the term ‘hug’ was first recorded in Old Norse. It’s believed to have sprung from the verb ‘hugga,’ which meant ‘to comfort.’ It’s, on the other hand, unclear how the actual practice of hugging started. As far as we know, it has only been for the past 50 years or so that public hugging has been seen as socially appropriate, differentiated from other shows of affection such as kissing.

When greeting friends and relatives, saying farewell or congratulating someone, we usually give an embrace. To console someone or to express sympathy, we hug. We hug to wish someone good luck, and we hug as a general expression of affection between intimate partners.

According to historical records, hugging and handshaking were first used in warfare to communicate to your adversary that you didn’t intend to harm them, showing that you had no visible weapons in your hands or on your body. To demonstrate that they came only equipped with words, presidential candidates partly hug and hold each other’s arms during a debate.

Hug Day timeline

1560s
‘Hug’ First Recorded in the English Language

The word ‘hug’ is derived from the Old Norse word ‘hugga,’ which means ‘to be comforted.’

2004
Free Hugs Campaign

Juan Mann (a moniker), an Australian native, begins the Free Hugs Campaign, as he believes life is more enjoyable with more physical contact.

2014
Hugging is Good for Health

Hugs and other emotional support appear to reduce the risk of catching communicable illnesses like the common cold by 30%, according to a study of more than 400 participants.

2016
Obama and Clinton Hug

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton share a famous hug on national television.

Hug Day FAQs

In the absence of hugs, what happens?

Stress, anxiety, and depression can set in if you don’t get enough hugs. Your body produces the hormone cortisol in response to stress. As a result, your heart rate, blood pressure, muscular tension, and breathing rate may rise, which harms your immune and digestive systems.

How long can a hug be?

When someone hugs you, they’re expressing a range of unspoken emotions. A 30-second hug is usually enough to elicit sentiments of security and well-being.

What is it about hugs that makes them so powerful?

The physical act of embracing can be immensely relaxing and restorative, and it’s a means of expressing your presence in someone’s life. As a result, it’s common for people to hug each other when they’re down, happy, or stressed.

Hug Day Activities

  1. Hug a friend

    Life can be hard sometimes, so if you see a friend today, give them a big hug! Some friends will always be delighted by a hug, but that’s not the case with everyone, so make sure you ask before going in for a hug.

  2. Ask for a hug

    If you need a hug, you can ask for one from your friends or family members. If there’s no one around to hug you, then by all means wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a backbreaking bear hug!

  3. Hug a stranger

    Sure, you’d look odd going up to a stranger and asking for a hug, so instead of asking a stranger for a hug, you can put up a sign that says “free hugs” so people can choose to come up to you for a free hug. A lot of people will respond positively and it can be very touching, especially if the person had a rough day and needs affection.

5 Different Types Of Hugs

  1. Self hug

    It's perfectly fine to hug yourself for as long as you need.

  2. Tight hug

    A tight hug is usually given when you see someone after a long time or when it’s time for a momentous goodbye.

  3. Side hug

    The side hug is less intimate than a full-body hug, and it's more common among friends, acquaintances, or coworkers because it's more casual.

  4. Polite hug

    A polite hug tends to be short and simple to create a social bond, especially for long-distance relatives.

  5. Back hug

    A back hug is a great way to show a deep physical connection in a close trusting relationship and as a sign of affection between two people who are in a good mood.

Why We Love Hug Day

  1. It provides assurance

    When words are not enough, show your friends that you’re there for them with a hug. Nothing beats a good old-fashioned embrace.

  2. It shows support

    To show your support, you can give a hug to a friend or family member who is going through a difficult time. Touching someone who needs comfort helps lower their stress levels, according to researchers. Even if you're the one doing the consoling, you'll feel less stressed.

  3. It’s for optimal health

    To gain the biggest benefits, we need to get as many hugs as possible, according to family therapist Virginia Satir, who stated "We require four hugs a day for survival. To keep ourselves healthy we require eight hugs per day. For growth, we need 12 hugs a day." That may sound excessive, but it's better to have too many than too few.

Hug Day dates

YearDateDay
2023February 12Sunday
2024February 12Monday
2025February 12Wednesday
2026February 12Thursday
2027February 12Friday

Want to sponsor this holiday?

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.