Friend’s Day (Día del Amigo in Spanish) is celebrated every year on July 20 in Argentina. The celebration on this date was an Argentinean iniciative, but has had a historical antecedent, the World Friendship Crusade (Cruzada Mundial de la Amistad). This Crusade was proposed by Dr. Ramón Artemio Bracho in Paraguay in 1958 to promote friendship between human beings and foster a culture of peace. Thanks to his proposal, July 30 was set as Friendship Day (Día de la Amistad).
Why 20th July was chosen to celebrate Friend´s Day in Argentina?
July 20, 1969 was a historic day for humanity. A group of astronauts sent by the United States and the USSR (Soviet Union, now Russia), reached the moon. This event (American and Russians, enemies at that moment, doing something valuable for humanity together) was considered an achievement and a proof that friendship among all nations was possible.
The initiative to celebrate the Friend´s Day on this date was of an Argentinean, Enrique Ernesto Febbraro, dentist, professor of philosophy and history, musician, and member of the Rotary Club. He proposed to celebrate Friend´s day on this date in honor of the Apollo XI landing on the Moon . While U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong put his left foot on the Moon, Febbraro sat down to write from Lomas de Zamora (in Buenos Aires province), where he lived, a hundred thousand letters to different countries. He wrote:
“I consider the landing of Apollo XI on the Moon as a friendly gesture of humanity towards the universe and I also think that that a nation of friends would be an invincible nation. Because of that July 20th is the chosen day!”.
How Argentinean people celebrate Friend´s Day?
In Argentina people celebrate Friend’s Day gathering and greeting both current and old friends. Since this day is not an Argentine bank holiday, people use to gather during the evening if it is on a week day.
In the last years Friend’s Day become extremely popular. For example, in 2005, the amount of well-wishes sent by text messages led to a temporary breakdown of the mobile phone network in the cities of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba and Rosario! Additionally tables in most restaurants, bars, and other places are often completely booked about a week before the celebration of Friend´s Day.
I want to finish this post quoting one of my favorite citations of “The Little Price” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
“He was just a fox, like a hundred thousand others. But I have made him my friend, and he is now unique in the world.”
Learn how Antoine de Saint-Exupéry found inspiration in Argentina (yes, in Argentina!!!) for writing his most famous work here: Inspiration for the Little Prince