International Happiness Day: Origin, Significance and India’s rank in World Happiness Index 2020

From the year 2013, the UN has been celebrating the International Day of Happiness along with publishing a worldwide World Happiness Index report in the year 2012.

The idea behind celebrating the day is to recognise the significance of happiness and mirth in the lives of people across the world.

Even as the scourge of Coronavirus is far from end, the world in a spirit of doggedness and cooperation will celebrate the International Day of Happiness tomorrow and hope to prevail over the pandemic soon. The International Day of Happiness is celebrated every year on March 20 under the auspice of the United Nations. The idea behind celebrating the day is to recognise the significance of happiness and mirth in the lives of people across the world. Far from being just a symbolic gesture, the idea of happiness is also measured countrywise by the UN and published in the form of the World Happiness Report. As per the report published by the United Nations last year, Helsinki city which is the capital of Finland is the happiest city in the world and its residents the happiest lot in the world.

Origin of Happiness Concept

Used to measuring prosperity and well being of people on the basis of crude GDP, per capita income and other such statistics, the developed world was ushered to the concept of happiness from a small nation Bhutan in the year 1971. It was this small kingdom from the Global South which in the year 1971 talked about Gross National Happiness which attempted to measure whether people are really happy and content on the basis of human development indices along with measuring people’s satisfaction with their environment, spiritual and ethical outlook.

The United Nations took 40 long years to acknowledge the idea of happiness on a global scale. From the year 2013, the UN has been celebrating the International Day of Happiness along with publishing a worldwide World Happiness Index report in the year 2012. The indices which are included to measure happiness index include GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, freedom to make choices, generosity and perception of corruption among others.

UN World Happiness Index Report, 2020

Since the year 2012, the top ranks are grabbed by Global North including Scandinavian countries such as Finland which has been ranked successive times. As far as India’s performance in the 2020 World Happiness Index Report is concerned, the country stood at a dismal 144 out of the 156 countries which were in the race.

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