Musical selection and composition "Сourteous Conversation" to mark the Hug Day

Hug Day is a holiday that is celebrated several times a year, on the 4th of December, the 21st of January and the 9th of August. According to this holiday tradition, even strangers can be hugged. The International Hug Day started in the 1970s, established among students in Western Europe, but the exact circumstances of its emergence are unknown.

The International holiday in December (International Hug Day) emerged in the 1970s, formed among Western European the youngsters; hence, the precise circumstances of its onset are unknown. Legend says that a young man arrived in Sydney and, feeling lonely in an unfamiliar place, stood outside the airport with a sign saying 'Free Hugs'. The stranger was then discovered by a woman that said she was alone and needed a hug to distract herself from her oppressive sense of loneliness. That was the start of a movement in Australia. This cordial and beneficent holiday made its way to Europe and then to America in 1986. There it received the official name "International Hug Day". In Russia, people started celebrating Hug Day relatively recently, in the early 90s, but since then the scale of celebration is constantly increasing - new countries and cities are joining in, and the number of participants is growing every year.
According to psychologists, hugs have healing powers and even prolong life. Traditions of the holiday suggest that random strangers can be hugged (making sure they agree, of course), not to mention relatives and friends. Flash mobs are organized in various cities and gather people that want to hug each other. They express their willingness with special signs, bracelets, ribbons of pre-determined colours and other signs. Those hugs do not have any intimate connotations; it is a feast of smiles, high spirits and fun.

Hugs accompany us throughout life, starting with the hugs of mum and dad and continuing as we hug our children, relatives or beloved pets.

Depending on culture, relationships and kinship, a hug can denote meeting and acquaintance, love, affection or friendship, solidarity or sympathy, as well as support, consolation and empathy, especially when words are not enough. A person needs a person, for touching and hugging as well. If you listen to yourself, you will notice that even if you hug someone in a purely formal, friendly way, you will feel your mood improve. To maintain warm atmosphere in a couple, in a group of friends or among colleagues, the tradition of hugging each other when met, while saying goodbye or with no particular reason, out of sheer emotion, can elevate communication to a new level without long and wearisome controversy. Tactile contact improves a person's emotional state and strengthens the overall condition of any body.

Hugging also has a positive effect on chemical level. Hugging produces the hormone oxytocin in the hypothalamus. It increases perception of security, calmness, satisfaction with life, and reduces anxiety. Researches also confirm the effect of hugs on the neurotransmitter anandamide (anandamide is translated from Sanskrit as "bliss" and "perfect happiness"). This neurotransmitter is involved in regulation of sleep and hunger, and is responsible for neutralizing sad memories. In addition, anandamide promotes motivation and pleasure.
Psychologists at the University of London decided to find out which hugs are the most emotionally satisfying. As a general conclusion, the scientists noted that a hug for a few seconds is not enough to cheer someone up, comfort or support him. It should last at least 5 seconds, hence no longer than 10 seconds. Moreover, crossing arms will increase the positive effect, regardless of the height, sex or age of the person.

What types of friendly hugs exist? A one-shoulder hug usually has a friendly meaning. It is a gesture by which men and women express their willingness to support and help somebody, and is common between relatives. The older people hug the younger ones in this way, signifying protection from adversity, willingness to be at hand in time of need and to take care of them. In addition to "taking under the wing", there is also the friendly long hug and backslapping.
Vincenzo Marignano, Italian Professor of medicine, says hugging the elixir of life. Hugging another person is sure to put us in good mood, improve the quality of life and prolong its duration.

Musical selection "Сourteous Conversation" to mark the Hug Day is posted the museum Sound Library.

On the cover: composition "Courteous Conversation". Russian Empire, St. Petersburg. The 1870s