We observe Humiliation Day on January 3 every year. Unlike its literal meaning, it is not a day to humiliate one another or spread hatred, but to relinquish our pride and become humble before a higher power or other people. In this context, the idea of humiliation has its origins in Protestant Christianity, where it means to leave one’s pride behind and come as equal human beings before God. It is important to humble ourselves to stop judging others based on their differences. Humiliation Day should be observed by all, regardless of religion.
History of Humiliation Day
On July 20, 1775, Congress issued a proclamation recommending the observance of a day of fasting, public humiliation, and prayer for the English Colonies under the blessing of King George the Third. The declaration was distributed to all the towns in the colonies. The goal was to pray for the civil and religious rights and privileges of the colonies. It became a big success with broad participation, and ever since then, Congress has issued a day of humiliation and prayer every year.
General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, also called for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer for his soldiers on May 6, 1779. The soldiers ceased all activities and labor for one day. Some Presidents didn’t make the proclamation during their term. Still, on March 23, 1798, U.S. President John Adams revived the tradition. He recommended the observance of a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer where the citizens would halt their worldly preoccupations and show their humble selves to a higher power.
In the year 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote to the Senate stating that the country had to observe a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer to please God. It was a plea to help the country and its citizens find inner peace and become more spiritual and devoted to God. Humiliation Day has become more secular recently, and acts of kindness and humility are done more for charitable causes than to appease God.
Humiliation Day timeline
The Continental Congress recommends the observance of a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer for the first time.
The Commander-in-Chief makes his soldiers halt unnecessary labor and recreational activities to pray and fast for a day.
U.S. President John Adams revives the tradition of observing a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer.
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaims a day for humiliation for the country to heal and find inner peace.
Humiliation Day FAQs
What is the century of humiliation?
It is also known as the hundred years of national humiliation. The term is used to describe a period in China when foreign powers invaded.
When was the National Humiliation Day observed in India?
The National Humiliation Day was observed on April 6, 1919, in India. The day saw a united protest by the natives of the country against the British Empire.
Is Humiliation Day a national holiday?
No, Humiliation Day is not a national holiday. Schools and Government offices remain open on this day.
How To Observe Humiliation Day
Count your blessings
Be grateful for what you have today. Try to remain content and not envy others.
Help those in need
Kindness goes a long way. You can change someone’s life by donating or helping out at a shelter.
Spread the word
If you have friends who don’t know about this day, tell them! It’s a good message to spread.
5 Facts About Humiliation
Humiliation to prevent God’s judgment
In Protestantism, a day of humiliation and fasting usually comes after an event that could unleash God’s judgment.
It keeps us safe from disasters
Humiliation is observed to keep us safe in the face of drought, flood, fire, military defeat, plague, and so on.
Humiliation comes with its rituals
In the past, anyone between the ages of 16 and 60 was expected to fast, listen to sermons, and meditate regularly.
Another president established the Day of Prayer
President Harry S. Truman established the National Day of Prayer in 1952.
There is another Humiliation Day
For Chinese-Canadians, a different Humiliation Day is celebrated on July 1, and it refers to the discrimination they face in Canada.
Why We Observe Humiliation Day
It helps us stay content
People around us are always competing against each other. However, it is important to be satisfied with what we have to be truly happy.
It celebrates humility
Humility is one of the best traits to have. This day reminds us to be humble and treat one another with kindness.
It brings people together
Letting go of pride and worldly preoccupation helps people become more honest with each other. We can let down our guards and become our genuine selves.
Humiliation Day dates