World Hello Day – November 21, 2020

Sat Nov 21

World Hello Day is a secular unofficial holiday celebrated on November 21 by 180 countries to illustrate the importance of personal communication for preserving peace. On this day, people are encouraged to participate by simply greeting 10 people. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are among the people who have noted World Hello Day’s value as an instrument for preserving peace and as an occasion that makes it possible for anyone in the world to contribute to the process of creating peace. Other supporters include almost 100 authors, entertainers, and world leaders. Remember to greet someone kindly on this day!

History of World Hello Day

World Hello Day was originally created in 1973 by Arizona State University graduate Brian McCormack and Harvard graduate Michael McCormack as a direct response to the Arab-Israeli war officially known as the Yom Kippur War. 

Gathering all the money they had at the time, these two brothers bought postage and sent out letters to as many world leaders as they could and asked them to support this new holiday. Within the first 12 months of their campaign, they received the support of over fifteen different countries. In the last 42 years, they have managed to gather the support of an additional one hundred and sixty-five countries.

Today, this day is used by ordinary people – as well as world leaders – from all around the world to settle their differences with communication rather than conflict. The McCormack brothers have also received strong support for their holiday from writers, entertainers and Nobel Laureates from all over the globe.

The only real custom associated with World Hello Day is the practice of saying ‘hello’ to friends, families and strangers. People who want to celebrate this holiday should take the time to say hello to at least 10 people they encounter throughout the day – particularly strangers. People should also take the time to learn how to say hello in a couple of different languages and then put that into practice sometime during the day.

World Hello Day is an opportunity for everyone, all throughout the globe, to make an effort at reaching out to one another, taking steps towards world peace. The primary means to achieving this personal connection is by simply saying, ‘hello!”

World Hello Day timeline

2020
Hello anniversary

World Hello Day celebrates its 48th anniversary.

1973
Greeting for peace

World Hello Day is created by Arizona State University graduate Brian McCormack and Harvard graduate Michael McCormack as a direct response to the Arab-Israeli war

1877
“Hello” on the telephone

The use of hello as a telephone greeting is credited to Thomas Edison as he expresses his surprise with a misheard ‘Hullo.’

1826
Hello, with a different meaning

Hello as a word is initially used to attract attention and not as a word of greeting, according to the Oxford English Dictionary

World Hello Day FAQs

What does hello mean?

Hello might be derived from hullo, which the American Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as a “chiefly British variant of hello”, and which was originally used as an exclamation to call attention, an expression of surprise, or a greeting.

 

Why does Graham Bell say hello?

It too was a greeting, albeit a nautical one, derived from the Dutch “hoi,” meaning “hello.” Bell felt so strongly about “ahoy” he used it for the rest of his life.

 

What key is Adele’s ‘Hello’ in?

The famous song by the British songstress is in F minor.

World Hello Day Activities

  1. Greet others enthusiastically

    Send out a positive, cheerful greeting today, and try to make it a habit most days. This way, you will most like get a cheerful, positive greeting in return! It’s always a nice feeling to receive a kind hello in the mornings, even at work. Not only will you make other people’s day, but you will also feel great for being kind!

  2. Learn greetings in different languages

    There are so many different ways to say hello around the world, making our world so beautiful and diverse. For example, did you know that ‘assalamu alaikum’ means ‘peace be upon you’ in Arabic? This is a common greeting amongst most Arab and Muslim countries. The Hawaiian word aloha holds great cultural significance. Not only is it used as a greeting and a farewell, the word also embodies the ideas of love, compassion and peace In Mongolia, Zolgokh is a traditional formal greeting. Two people hold both their arms out, and the younger person's arms are placed under the elder person's and grasp their elbows to show support for their elder.

  3. Call friends from your past

    Haven’t spoken to a friend in a long time? Perhaps a high school buddy or a friend you made during college days? On World Hello Day, make an effort to call and say hello to someone you haven’t in a long time. Life gets busy and sometimes it’s hard to keep in contact, so making the first move to greet a person you once had a special bond with is a great way to celebrate the day!

5 Amazing Facts About Saying Hello

  1. Hello first used to get attention

    The word was initially used to attract attention and not as a word of greeting — according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest written record of the word was in 1826 in the Norwich Courier.

  2. It was coined as a telephone greeting

    Everyone knows that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but it was his rival Thomas Alva Edison — who had more rivals than most — who coined ‘hello’ as the official telephone greeting.

  3. The greeting was a social leveler

    In the 19th century, it was considered rude and unpolished to talk to anyone without being formally introduced. Hence, the use of “hello” as a telephone greeting, readily became a social leveler.

  4. A firm greeting

    The first published phone book by the District Telephone Company of New Haven, Connecticut in 1878, included strict “How To” sections and it authoritatively instructed users to begin their phone conversations with “a firm and cheery” hello.

  5. Other countries use similar words

    Many other countries use greetings that sound a lot like hello — hallo in Afrikaans, halo in Indonesian, halò in Gaelic and halló in Icelandic, to name a few!

Why We Love World Hello Day

  1. Teaching us the beauty of hello

    Have you ever thought about the importance of greeting someone? What our world would be like without saying hello? Communication is a basic human concept and the act of greeting someone, no matter in what language or country you are from, is a beautiful thing.

  2. A reminder of peace

    Hello. A simple hello can break boundaries and promote peace across the world. Peace can be a charged subject, especially for war torn areas of the world. Be sure to be sensitive to each other’s position on the subject. Consider discussing with different people what peace means to them. What are their symbols of peace? What can individuals do to promote peace throughout the world?

  3. Sharing culture

    World Hello Day gives us a chance to share some of our own cultures and teaching eachother how to say hello in our native languages. Make sure to go out of your way to ask someone from a different country or culture what their way of greeting is. It gives us a great perspective on the world around us, and realize the countless ways there are to say hello!

World Hello Day dates

YearDateDay
2020November 21Saturday
2021November 21Sunday
2022November 21Monday
2023November 21Tuesday
2024November 21Thursday