The International Day of Families is celebrated on the 15th of May, at the headquarters of the United Nations and around the world. The day was officially announced in 1993 by the UN General Assembly with resolution A/RES/47/237 and demonstrates the significance which the global community attaches to families. It offers an opportunity to spread awareness about the issues that relate to families and to enhance knowledge of the economic, demographic and social processes that affect the families.
The Universal Peace Federation also comes forward to celebrate the day as it regards the family as the miniature of a global community. It also considers that sustainable peace is rooted in the family as the most devoted social unit, the school of peace and love.
International Day of Families 2019
International Day of Families 2019 was observed worldwide on the 15th of May, Wednesday.
The International Day of Families 2019 theme was “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG13”. The theme focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals no. 13 (SDG13) which deals with climate change and how families can help in combating it through awareness and education.
The main event took place at UN Headquarters, New York organized by Division for inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs along with the Global Communication Civil Society.
People across the globe celebrated the day by having a get together with their families and reuniting with the family members and to know each other.
The day was also celebrated by organizing presentations, events, and programs to showcase the importance of families in the modern era.
History of International Day of Families
On the 20th of September, 1993, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution named A/RES/47/237 that reasserted the resolution named 44/82 which was passed in the month of December in 1989 and resolution named 46/92 which was passed in the month of December in 1991. These were reasserted and passed to showcase the determination of the United Nations to encourage better living standards and social progress of families across the globe.
In the year 1994, the United Nations officially declared the International Day of Families in response to the modifying economic and social structures that affect the stability and structure of family units in several parts of the world. The day serves as an occasion to embody the work which was commenced in 1993 and to commemorate the essence of people, societies, cultures, and families across the globe.
International Day of Families symbol comprises a solid green circle with a red image in between. The symbol contains schematic drawing elements of a house and a heart. It signifies that families are a central part of any society and they offer a supporting and stable home for all the age groups of people.
Why International Day of Families is Celebrated
International Day of Families is observed every year. The purpose of this international observance day is to acknowledge the significance of family and to heighten awareness on the issues affecting families worldwide. This annual celebration reflects the significance that the global community affixes to families as primary units of the society, moreover as its concern in relation to their situation worldwide.
The International Day of Families offers the right set of circumstances to promote awareness on issues that relate to families, besides promoting appropriate action. The day acts as a powerful awakening factor in the best interest of families in all the nations, which benefits themselves of this favorable occasion and demonstrates the support of issues concerning families suited to each society. Over the years, the day has also inspired several countries in the world to create their own family days or awareness events that are based on the community to bring attention to family issues.
Since the period of 1996, the Secretary-General of the United Nations designates a theme for the celebration of International Day of Families each year to pay special attention to a particular motto. The majority of the themes rotate around children's education, poverty, family balance and social issues for the betterment of families all over the world.
The theme of International Day of Families 2019 is: “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG13”.
The theme of International Day of Families, 2017 was: “Families, education, and well-being”.
Celebration of the International Day of Families in 2017 focused on the part of families and policies which were family-oriented in fostering education and the general well-being of its members. Specifically, the day is to spread awareness of the role of families in fostering early childhood education as well as lifelong learning chances for youth and children.
The theme for the day also highlighted the significance of all the caretakers in families, be it siblings, parents or grandparents and the significance of education provided by the parents for their child’s welfare. It was emphasized on good practices to maintain a balance in work and life to assist parents in their caregiving and educational roles. The day also highlighted good practices from the private sector as a support for working parents. Furthermore, the support for elder persons and youth in workplaces will also be underlined.
International Day of Families in 2017 also aimed to discuss on the significance of skills and knowledge required to encourage sustainable development, with the help of education for sustainable growth, human rights, sustainable lifestyle, gender equality, global citizenship, promoting culture of non-violence and peace, appreciation and global citizenship of cultural diversity and contribution of culture to sustainable development.
The theme of Previous Years Are:
- The theme of International Day of Families 2019 - "Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG13".
- The theme of 2018 was "Families and inclusive societies".
- The theme of 2017 was "Families, education, and well-being".
- The theme of International Day of Families 2016 was: "Families, healthy lives and sustainable future".
- The theme of International Day of Families 2015 was: "Men in charge? Gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families".
- The theme of International Day of Families 2014 was: "Families Matter for the Achievement of Development Goals; International Year of the Family + 20”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2013 was: "Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity".
- The theme of International Day of Families 2012 was: “Ensuring Work-Family Balance”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2011 was: “Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2010 was: “The impact of migration on families around the world”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2009 was: “Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World”.
- The theme of the International Day of Families 2008 was: “Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges”.
- The theme of the International Day of Families 2007 was: “Families and Persons with Disabilities”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2006 was: “Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2005 was: “HIV/AIDS and Family Well-being”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2004 was: “The Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family: A Framework for Action”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2003 was: “Preparations for the observance of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2002 was: “Families and Ageing: Opportunities and Challenges”.
- The theme of the International Day of Families 2001 was: “Families and Volunteers: Building Social Cohesion”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 2000 was: “Families: Agents and Beneficiaries of Development”.
- The theme of the International Day of Families 1999 was: “Families for all ages”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 1998 was: “Families: Educators and Providers of Human Rights”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 1997 was: “Building Families Based on Partnership”.
- The theme of International Day of Families 1996 was: “Families: First Victims of Poverty and Homelessness”.
How International Day of Families is Celebrated Worldwide
The International Day of Families is acknowledged or celebrated worldwide in diverse ways. Some communities choose to pay tribute to the day by organizing discussions or public exhibitions in line with the ideas that are relevant to the theme prescribed for the year. Other communities celebrate the day by holding education sessions for youth and children. Public officials also hold policy meetings to discuss the policies that affect families directly.
Some people might even choose to celebrate the day with their own families. While the day is an international observance that is celebrated by various communities and people all over the world, the day is not declared as a public holiday. Thus, all the government offices are likely to remain open, as well as the businesses and postal delivery services.
Some of the examples of events held in recent years across the world are as follows:
International Day of Families is celebrated every year in India to raise awareness on various family issues and to acknowledge the importance of families. The day is observed by various organizations of the country where the members of the organization as well as their family members take part in different events. Different companies organize the day every year to familiarize the families of their employees with the functioning of the company and to introduce them to the remaining staff.
Many organizations set up a photo booth with cut pieces of houses and cars for families to enjoy clicking pictures together. Several games are held for adults as well as for children to relish the day with their families. For entertaining the families, there are live performances on music, dance, etc. Guests are also gifted photo frames at the end of the event for sticking their family photographs and sharing their bonds.
Some families also celebrate the day by spending time together, cooking great dishes, watching movies and in several other ways.
International Day of Families is observed every year in Canada to celebrate the significance of family life and families to people and their communities. It offers a golden opportunity for people of Canada to spend quality time with their loved ones. Most people get involved in activities with their entire family. They go for dinners, skating, family outings, go for movies together or take part in crafting.
Some families also spend their day by visiting orphanages, blind schools, old age homes, and cancer societies, etc to educate their children about the unprivileged section of the society. Special venues like museums or art galleries and communities often provide special offers for families like reduced admission prices or plan special events for the families. Schools are closed on the day but the day is not a national statutory holiday.
South Africa has special circumstances that have a deep impact on the situation and structure of families. They comprise its history of apartheid and especially the system of migrant labor. Poverty largely impacts family life in the country. The pandemic of HIV/AIDS has also greatly affected the well-being and health of family members and has placed an additional burden on the children.
International Day of Families in South Africa focuses on the healthy lives of the families. The day is annually commemorated with respect to the changing economic and social structures that affect the stability and structure of family units in various regions of the country.
The day is celebrated in South Africa each year. People celebrate the day by getting together with their families while relaxing and relishing food and drinks. There is a national holiday in the country and most of the businesses are closed.
In Italy, the International Day of Families is celebrated in accordance with the theme prescribed by the United Nations for the year. The number of communities comes together to commemorate the day by organizing various conferences and events. In some events, serious poems are offered that are dedicated to the entire family sphere- parents, grandparents, couple and the children.
Various couples that belong to different ethnicities, faiths, and communities give testimonials on their family life which support the incomparable family value. Music and dance are also organized in the events for families to enjoy together. Other entertainment activities are also organized along with offering useful information for the young as well as the old and all kinds of families.
On the day, there is refocus on the role of families, current trends in the development of family policy, sharing good practices and reviewing challenges that are faced by the nation to pursue and recommend solutions.
In Australia, every year International Day of Families is celebrated for the entire week in the form of National Families Week. It is held between the 15th of May to 21st of May to coincide with the International Day of Families as proclaimed by the United Nations. It is managed by Families Australia each year since the period of 2003 with the support of the Australian Government.
The week is a time to observe with families, make contact with extended friends and family members and enjoy the family activities with the broader community. There is a celebration of the meaning family while making the most of the family time. People of Australia seek out time to visit their parents, friends and other close family members and spend quality time with them.
Suggestions for Celebrating International Day of Families in India
Indians learn the vital themes of cultural life within the confines of a family. In major parts of the country, primary units of society are the wider kinship groupings and patrilineal family unit. Joint family is the most aspired residential unit which consists of three or more generations related to patrilineal, who all work under one roof, live, worship; eat together in mutually beneficial economic and social activities.
As living in families is the major aspect of Indians, there is a large need for the awareness of various family issues and the importance of families. International Day of Families provides a very good platform to raise understanding of the economic, demographic and social processes affecting families. Here are some ways to celebrate the day in India-
- On occasion, people must keep the entire day for their families. You can have family games, tell each other about what makes your family amazing, have a sports carnival or a movie marathon and give one another lot of smiles and hugs. You can also encourage your family members to make small movies on important issues that surround your family and then conduct a premier night.
- Photographs are a great way to keep memories forever. You can click family pictures together or even create a family book or album.
- Social media is a very good platform to showcase the importance of families. You can upload family pictures on the internet using #WorldFamilyDay to make others aware of the occasion.
- Apart from your own family, you can also celebrate the day with the people of society, you are living with. You can organize a street party with a family theme having lots of games and other activities that encourage the bond between families.
- Community groups and organizations can celebrate the day by investigating the needs of families, problems they face and reviewing services accordingly. They can also raise and sponsor funds for a local family in need or community projects related to families and youth.
International Day of Families is a very important day as it creates awareness about the significance of families among the people in the modern period. As people these days are switching more towards the independent and solitary mode of lifestyle, they are gradually moving away from the wonderful institution of society known as ‘Family’.
This day is ideal for the ones who wish to spend time with their families- either the family in which they were born, the family they choose themselves or even expanded family. It is also ideal for the ones who wish to spread awareness on a few of the numerous issues that are affecting a lot of families these days.