By Stacey Tucker
CARO — If there was any day perfect for a big hug, it would have been Tuesday, January 21.
Tuesday marked the 28th annual National Hugging Day, a day invented by Kevin Zaborney of Caro, which is now observed all over the world.
The Caro native had just graduated college and had studied the positive benefits of a hug. In 1986, he decided he could help others by creating a day that gave people a reason to give hugs.
“I studied psychology and had the opportunity to study research in hugging and the positive benefits of it,” Zaborney said. “I try to encourage family and friends to hug throughout the year more.”
Zaborney said he chose January 21st because people needed a reason to hug.
“It fell between the holidays of Christmas and Valentine’s Day,
“It was kind of a picker-upper and something to boost your spirits.”
Once Zaborney had the idea of creating the holiday, he called Chase’s Calendar of Events that was used by most media sources. From there the day just took right off.
As the date has become more popular, it has spread to other countries including Canada, England, Australia and Germany, New Zealand.
“Initially I didn’t expect any response,” he said. “But the first year it was celebrated in Australia.
Zaborney said he encourages everyone to hug on that day, including people at hospitals and senior care facilities. Although it is important to use good judgement while hugging.
“I do believe you need to ask first and if someone says ‘no’ that you should respect that,” he said.
National Hugging Day isn’t the only day created by Zaborney. He also created National Whiners Day, which is the day following Christmas Day. The day was invented to remind people to not focus on the gifts they didn’t get, but to think about all the good things in their lives.
“I encourage people to be grateful for what they have rather than what they don’t have,” he said. “On that day, a lot of people, kids in particular, will whine about what they didn’t get.
“Each year I’ll nominate the most famous whiner.”
Both national holidays was created in the same year.
Stacey Tucker is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.