World Smile Day

World Smile Day - Wednesday, October 2, 2024

Special Interest Activities Funny

The first Friday of October is World Smile Day (October 2), a relatively new holiday with a fascinating story. Created by a commercial artist named Harvey Ball, this day came about as a response to his creation of the smiley face. Harvey worried that the commercialization of the symbol would lessen its impact. We can hardly blame him for his estimation; the symbol has been used in many different ways including clothing, comic books, coffee mugs, pins, and more. These little yellow faces are more than just a symbol, they’re a statement about the power of smiling.

Sometimes all it takes to make the day better is a smile, whether it’s one someone gives to you, or one you share with another. Little acts of kindness can bring a shining smile to someone who has otherwise had a terrible day, and it can change everything that follows.

Whether it’s just a simple compliment, a cheery hello, or a gift of something small to help brighten their day, World Smile Day encourages you to take action to bring a few more smiles into the world.

Learn about World Smile Day

World Smile Day is the perfect day to make others smile while also ensuring you have a smile on your face as well. There are a lot of events that go on around the globe on World Smile Day, all of which have been designed to make people feel happier and to share great moments with others. We see associations, organizations, people, and schools get involved, with many different activities going on that can make a person smile. This includes sending lovely messages to people and giving food to those who need it. 

Interesting information and facts about World Smile Day and smiling itself…

Let’s take a look at some interesting and surprising facts about World Smile Day. For example, did you know that 470 iterations of the smileys were made for Internet emoticons in 1999? That’s a lot of smiley faces, isn’t it?

Not only does the smiley face bring a lot of joy to people, but it’s making a lot of money too! Well, we suppose money makes people smile as well, right? We are sure that the guys in London, England, are smiling when they look at how much money the Smiley Company office is bringing in. After all, it is worth over $55 million per annum! 

Did you also know that happiness is biological? When you smile, endorphins are created. These are neurotransmitters that cause feelings of pleasure. And, do you know why the color yellow was used for the smiley face? Well, this one you might be able to guess! Yellow is the symbol of cheerfulness, so what better color for a smiley face?

History of World Smile Day

It was a simple thing, a circle with a few dots and an upturned curve, but put together Harvey Ball created one of the most iconic symbols the world had ever seen, and it would quickly come to infect everything from graffiti to modern day emoji’s.

We are, of course, talking about the smiley face, arguably the first emoji to enter the world. Harvey would later express concern that the sheer commercialization of his little symbol would strip it of its original intent and meaning.

It was out of this concern that he created World Smile Day, a day devoted to the spreading of simple joy and love to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or geographic location.

Harvey sadly passed from this world in 2001, but the foundation he helped create, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, has carried forth his message of simple peace and love as the sponsor of World Smile Day every year.

Whether you’re simply expressing a bit of silliness or doing a small act of kindness to help someone smile, World Smile Day is your opportunity to help brighten the world and make the world a better place through the simple power of the smile.

How to celebrate World Smile Day

It all starts with keeping your eyes and heart open to the people around you, and recognizing when someone nearby could use a momentary lift to their day.

Everyone can make a difference on World Smile Day, just by being caring and compassionate and helping those around them have the best day they can have. Those who are truly ambitious can check out the World Smile Day website and look into becoming a World Smile Day ambassador.

World Smile Day Ambassador’s go the extra mile in setting up events at local businesses, schools, parks, even online to help spread the simple joy of a smile to the world.

There are a number of different things that you can do on World Smile Day to make a difference. There are a lot of great suggestions online. This includes delivering smile certificates to people, sending smile cards, giving meals to the homeless, hospital events, visiting nursing homes, balloon releases with World Smile Day messages, and much more! You can do things that make your loved ones smile, as well as the wider community too. It does not always need to be something big and grand either. There are plenty of small things that we can all do to make people feel happier. 

It is also important to remember that you should be smiling on World Smile Day! We often tend to forget about ourselves because we are so busy thinking about other people. What makes you happy? What is going to make you smile? A lot of people smile when they are helping others, so it is one big circle of happiness! Of course, there are plenty of other things that could make you smile as well. You may simply want to have an hour to yourself so you can watch your favorite film or television program, for example. 

Whatever you do decide to do on World Smile Day, there is one important ingredient: a smile!

History of World Smile Day

In 1963, Harvey Ball, a graphic artist and ad man from Worcester, Massachusetts, created the smiley face symbol we’ve all come to know. Popularity for this symbol exploded into the world of popular culture. It’s every artists’ dream for their work to be respected and recreated and few symbols have had quite the legacy that Harvey’s creation has had.

Throughout the years, the smiley face has become one of the most well-known symbols in the world. It has appeared in movies such as ‘Forest Gump’ and used as a motif in the graphic novel, ‘Watchmen.’ It’s so well-known that just by saying “smiley face”, we bet that you can see it in your mind. That recognizable yellow circle with black dots for eyes and a simple curve for a genuine and pure smile. However, the original smiley face had more of an oblong smile, a bit more hand drawn in aesthetic, taking up more space on the face than we see in modern recreations. Because of its overuse, it started to move away from its intent of goodwill and good cheer and he knew something had to be done.

In 1999, World Smile Day became an official holiday in order to regain control. The celebration aspects of the day were simple yet effective: people were to use the day to smile and make small acts of kindness worldwide. Harvey wanted to keep the smile connected to the human being. By doing so, you’d smile and in return, you’d make someone else smile and brighten up their day.

World Smile Day timeline


Never stop smiling

Harvey Ball passes away, but the power of the smile continues thanks in large part because of his dream.


It's official

World Smile Day becomes an official holiday to inspire acts of kindness.


Pixel perfect

The popularity of the smiley face emoji increases with the expansion of the internet and its use as an emoji.


Let's get political

The smiley face is used in cartoons, comics, and for political movements.


The creation

The commercial artist Harvey Ball creates the smiley face.

World Smile Day FAQs

Does World Smile Day have a motto?

The Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation has the motto “Enhancing this world, one smile.”

Is World Smile Day celebrated around the world?

Events for World Smile Day are celebrated in the United States and all over the world.

What do they call the “smiley face” in other countries?

In France it was called sourire, and in Japan, it was a “peace love mark.”

Five Surprising Facts About World Smile Day

  1. Happiness is biological

    When you smile, neurotransmitters called endorphins are created that cause feelings of pleasure.

  2. Why yellow?

    Yellow is used as the color of the smiley face because it's a symbol of cheerfulness.

  3. Money-maker

    The Smiley Company office in London, England, is worth more than $55m per year.

  4. Multiplicity

    In 1999, 470 iterations of the smileys were created for internet emoticons.

  5. Sweet Charity

    The World Smile Foundation is a non-profit charitable trust that supports wonderful children's causes.

World Smile Day Activities

  1. Do Unto Others

    There are many organizations that could use volunteers willing to offer extra help. Whether it involves cleaning up the environment, or helping the elderly, or giving back to veterans it all makes the world a better place. Doing something charitable outside of your everyday life can have enlightening effects on you and your community.

  2. Follow Your Dreams

    With work and other obligations, it can be hard to find time for yourself. We all have hopes and dreams that we’ve put on the back burner. Use this day to indulge in your heart’s desire. Pull out your guitar from the closet, pick up a paintbrush, anything that deeply resonates with you that will put a smile back on your face.

  3. Commit a Random Act of Kindness

    Not everything has to be planned out. Keeping a sense of goodwill in your spirit all day is the perfect way to celebrate. You’ll have it in mind to keep an eye out for ways that you can brighten someone’s day. Compliment someone’s outfit, thank your co-workers for their work ethic. Whatever small way you can positively impact someone, follow your instincts. You’d be surprised how much an acknowledgment can mean to someone.

Why We Love World Smile Day

  1. A day to show we care

    While we use smile emojis in our digital conversations, we don’t always smile with our real faces. It’s always good to remember the benefits that true smiles can do for our own emotional well-being.

  2. It brightens up the dark

    When the world seems in a disarray, it can be hard to find your own smile. Enjoyment might seem like a preposterous thing at times, but science tells us that finding lightness in the dark can make you less anxious, annoyed, and sad.

  3. Take on tougher tasks

    People often neglect how much mental health affects our productivity. When you’re in the proper headspace, it can give you the boost you need to go about your day. It can also help positively raise the energy of those around you.

Also on Wed Oct 2, 2024...

Oct 02