Hug 1

Cold Weather – Warm Heart

Started in 1986, National Hug Day is observed to make others feel better. What could be better than that? Well, I could think of a few possibilities, but that would just get us off topic.  And since I have been know to be the “King of Tangents,” I will today try and spare you the agony of my roaming thoughts.

Yes, today is the day when we are “legally” permitted to show unabashed kindness (which is far better than bashed kindness – I tried that once and didn’t like it) to anyone and everyone who deserves it – and even better, those who don’t. One warning: when spreading affection all over the place, just make sure you avoid those who might bring litigation. That’s my one caveat. So hug away – within reason.

Of course you realize that I simply cannot leave anything alone. That being said, I did a little research (“little” being the key word) into the origin and history of the hug. Aren’t you lucky you are reading this today?  Try and guess which parts are real.

History Lesson

The origin of the hug dates way back in time to the dawn of woman(man), and pretty much coincides with the origin of the arm – or I should more accurately say “arms” as a one-armed hug just doesn’t cut it.

Anthropologists hypothesize that early woman(man) hugged for reasons of tribal organization and social acceptance into the group; while paleontologists believe that the hug had more to do with survival. They theorize that, with everyone walking around covered in pelts and animal skins from head to toe, hugging was essential to establish whether or not you were encountering a human being or an animal. They also maintain that the hug further served to identify the gender of the hug-ee, this making procreation more likely.

Evidence to support this was unearthed in the south of France, when scientists uncovered a cave painting which they believe predates the Cro-Magnon Era. The painting, entitled “L’Embrace,” (which cannot be display here for reasons of decorum) depicts a couple of cave people intertwined in a survival ritual.  That’s all that I can say about that.

Not much more is known about the hug, except that it became popular as an after-dinner hobby and its rise coincided with the rise in the population. Its one decline, however, was in 14th Century Europe, a few weeks after the start of the Bubonic Plague, which really hurt the tourism industry. The hug saw a resurgence in the Renaissance, and coincided with the invention of soap and the rise of the perfume industry.

Today, hugs can be found in virtually every culture on Earth, especially the “touchy-feely” ones that always creeped me out a little. Here is an example of a few modern-type hugs.

The Tug Hug:  This type of hug is perpetrated by toddlers upon the legs of parents and caregivers.  It usually means that either the tummy is empty or the diaper is full. Beware of the latter.

The New Year’s Eve Hug:  This type of hug is the only one that is allowed to take place between complete strangers. It is usually followed by a check to see if one’s wallet and/or phone is missing; and can be accompanied by a trip to a police station.

The Bro Hug: Now gaining acceptance at sporting events and other male-boding arenas, the Bro Hug is a two-pat-on-the-back-from-a-safe-distance hug and is the only hug that is measured in nanoseconds.  Anything longer than that constitutes either a violation of personal space (15-yard penalty plus loss of down) or a budding relationship.

The Cheerleader Hug: My favorite of all the hugs, the Cheerleader Hug takes place when the local sports team scores and group huddling ensues.  Can you say “boomalaka!”

The Hollywood Hug: This hug takes place between Tinsel Town stars and is coupled with air kisses and a knife to the back.

The Grandma Hug:  This hug involves smothering while money is slipped into the hand.  It can also be accompanied by a cracked rib on special occasions.

The You-Are-An-Annoying-Pest-Who-Has-Overstayed-His-Limit Hug: The hug that I get most often.  It involves a hug, followed by being handed my coat and hat and pushed out the door.

Hug 2

That being said, I do believe that it is time for me to make my exit before it happens again.

Happy National Hug Day, Everyone!


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

7 responses »


  2. Colleen says:

    I like hugs but with MCS I kind of need the other person to be in a hazmat suit. So what I want to know is when is National Buy Your Friend an Island Day? 😀

    • Joe says:

      My crack staff of researchers could not find a specific day with that title. However, since they seem to have an abundance up there, the next time I am in the Thousands Islands I will check out the prices. How big an island do you need?

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