INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE: SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

International Day of Peace

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21 each year to recognize the efforts of those who have worked hard to end conflict and promote peace. The International Day of Peace is also a day of ceasefire – personal or political.

UN International Day of Peace
The dove is a symbol often associated with the International Day of Peace.
©iStockphoto.com/Sue McDonald

What Do People Do?

On the International Day of Peace, also known as Peace Day, people around the world take part in various activities and organize events centered on the theme “peace”. Events vary from private gatherings to public concerts and forums involving large audiences. Activities include:

  • Interfaith peace ceremonies.
  • A toast for peace.
  • A peace choir.
  • Lighting candles.
  • Peace prayers.
  • A peace convoy of vehicles.
  • Tree planting for peace.
  • Art exhibitions promoting peace.
  • Picnics for peace.
  • Peace walks.

Organizations such as Roots & Shoots, an international environmental and humanitarian program for youth, show their support for the event on an annual basis. Young people involved in Roots & Shoots may engage in activities such as crafting giant peace dove puppets from re-used materials and flying the doves in their communities. People from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds also commit to organizing an International Day of Peace Vigil. Some groups observe a minute of silence at noon in every time zone across the world on Peace Day.

Public Life

The UN’s International Day of Peace is a global observance and not a public holiday. It is a day when nations around the world are invited to honor a cessation of hostilities during the day.

Background

A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The assembly decided in 2001 that the International Day of Peace should be annually observed on September 21 starting from 2002. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.

By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged people to work in cooperation for this goal. Since its inception, Peace Day has marked personal and planetary progress toward peace. It has grown to include millions of people worldwide and many events are organized each year to commemorate and celebrate this day.

Symbols

The peace dove flying with an olive branch in its beak is one of the most commonly featured symbols for the day. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam a white dove is generally a sign for peace. The dove can also represent “hope for peace” or a peace offering from one person to another, hence the phrase “to extend an olive branch”. Often, the dove is represented as still in flight to remind people of its role as messenger.

External Links

International Day of Peace: September 21

International Day of Peace Observances

 

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type
Tue Sep 21 2010 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Wed Sep 21 2011 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Fri Sep 21 2012 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Sat Sep 21 2013 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Sun Sep 21 2014 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Mon Sep 21 2015 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Wed Sep 21 2016 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Thu Sep 21 2017 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Fri Sep 21 2018 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Sat Sep 21 2019 International Day of Peace United Nations observance
Mon Sep 21 2020 International Day of Peace United Nations observance

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