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Peace means so much more than an absence of war between various countries and states. More ordinary conflicts arise from disputes with family, colleagues and neighbors and these also have a tendency to disturb a person’s sense of peace. Making peace with one person today, even if it is just with yourself, is a fitting way to mark the International Day of Peace. 

Light a candle, reflect, forgive and enjoy being tranquil, because it is time for the International Day of Peace!

History of International Day of Peace

Since 1982, the International Day of Peace has begun with the ringing of the Peace Bell at the United Nations headquarters, New York. The day got its start when the UN General Assembly established it with a unanimous resolution, devoting the day to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”. Twenty years later, in 2011, the date was fixed on September 21 as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.

Each year, the International Day of Peace offers a different theme around which people can carry on conversations and aim to build relationships that overcome conflict. Some of the themes in the past have included:

  • End Racism. Build Peace.
  • Recovering Better for an Equitable and Sustainable World
  • Shaping Peace Together
  • Climate Action for Peace

In addition to the annual changing themes, the day also offers a universal statement that can be used as a greeting to begin or end peace gatherings. With this constant theme, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, the International Day of Peace offers an opportunity for diverse people of all ages to gather together around the common desire for peace.

How to Celebrate International Day of Peace

The International Day of Peace offers what could be an almost endless list of opportunities for people of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds to join together around the common theme of peace. Get creative with ideas for celebrating, including some of these:

Engage in a Moment of Silence

One of the initiatives of the International Day of Peace is the Global Moment of Silence, also known as the Global Moment of Peace. In each time zone, at 12 noon, people can participate in one minute of silence wherever they are. Then, all throughout the day, at the top of each hour, someone in the world is participating in what some people refer to as The Peace Wave. It’s a simple and beautiful way to show appreciation for the peace that comes through a moment of silence.

Host or Attend a Global Feast for Peace

One activity that is recommended for celebrating the International Day of Peace is to host or join in on a Global Feast for Peace. This is a simple concept of inviting a variety of people, ideally from different backgrounds, cultures or faiths, to participate in a meal where important discussions about peace and common ground can be had. A meal provides a perfect backdrop for people to foster peace through a dialogue with listening, understanding and compassion.

Access Tools and Resources for Peace Gatherings

The International Day of Peace offers a myriad of opportunities to observe, celebrate and educate on the theme of peace. Teachers, parents, community leaders and others might want to take advantage of resources available on the United Nations Peace Day website or on the Roots and Shoots page.   

Practice Peace in the Home

Parents, do you reward your children when they share toys and help each other? Learning how to solve disputes without aggression is a great way to enjoy the International Day of Peace. A sponsored toddler group can raise funds for peace charities and tire out the little ones at the same time.

Of course, peace needs building and hard work, not just celebrating. Make each and every day a day of peace as everyone works toward harmony at home, school, work, in the local community and throughout the world.

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