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Kissing is a sign of affection that is used throughout the world in many ways, whether romantically on the mouth (with the French leading the way in this arena) or platonically on one or both cheeks.

No matter how it is practiced, National Kissing Day is the perfect time to show someone how much they are loved, appreciated and adored.

History of National Kissing Day

While it is unclear exactly how, why and when kissing began, it seems to have developed over time in certain cultures. Some researchers speculate that it began with mouth-to-mouth feedings from mothers to children. However, other researchers refute this, noting that this would likely have made it present in all cultures naturally.

While some cultures seem to have developed the practice of kissing on their own, other cultural groups have known nothing about kissing until it was shown to them.

One educated guess about the way that kissing evolved is that people who were attracted to each other may have felt compelled to rub faces and noses, and eventually the lips were discovered to have a pleasurable sensation. And the rest, as they say, is kissing history.

No matter how it started, kissing is a delightful way to show affection, whether on National Kissing Day or any day at all!

National Kissing Day Timeline

1500 BC

First record of kissing 

Vedic Sanskrit scriptures, which are foundational to the Hindu religion, hold the earliest mentions of kissing in human history.[1]

1st Century AD

Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss 

A sad situation, this kiss is recorded in three gospels in the New Testament of the Bible and is believed to be the way that Judas indicated who Jesus was, at a price of 30 pieces of silver.[2]

1595

Romeo and Juliet’s famous kiss is written 

Shakespeare, the versatile writer of comedy and tragedy, takes his turn at romance with the famous kissing scene between Romeo and Juliet.[3]

1896

First kissing scene is released on film

May Irwin and John C. Rice appear in a short film called “The May Irwin Kiss” or simply “The Kiss”, which is the final scene from a play they were putting on.[4]

1973

The band “KISS” gets its start

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley form the rock band, choosing to wear makeup that “symbolizes and embodies” them as individuals.[5]

How to Celebrate National Kissing Day

Everyone deserves a kiss today! Try out some of these ideas for celebrating National Kissing Day with family, with a romantic partner or with close friends:

Give Someone a Kiss

Of course, this should probably be a person you know. And it’s important to ask permission first and not just run around kissing people who don’t want to be kissed! But in honor of National Kissing Day, go ahead and smack on the lips, cheeks or forehead of loved ones, whether it’s a spouse, partner, child, parent or really close friend.

This is the ideal day to show the people in your world how much they are loved and cared for with the simplest of gestures–a kiss. And for those who aren’t so affectionate? Perhaps a hug, or blowing them a kiss, will do!

Watch a Movie About Kissing

Whether curling up with someone kissable or spending the day on your own, National Kissing Day is a fun time to embrace the romance that goes along with kissing. Try watching one of these films that captures the joy and delight of the day:

  • The Kissing Booth (2018). Based on a 2012 novel of the same name, his teen rom-com is not just one movie, but offers a series of three stories surrounding a teenage girl and her crush.
  • Never Been Kissed (1999). This cute romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and David Arquette is about a newspaper reporter who enrolls in high school in search of a story.
  • French Kiss (1995). Enjoy Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline in this film about an American woman who flies off to France to confront her fiance who is cheating on her.
  • Prelude to a Kiss (1992). This American fantasy comedy and romance stars Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan as a couple who have a strange thing happen to them at their wedding reception–when an old man asks the bride for a kiss.

Use the Kiss Emoji

All day long, in honor of National Kissing Day, make sure to use a kissing emoji whenever texting with friends or family. Choose from the yellow smiley face blowing a kiss that is a red heart or, for a more intimate partner, use the red lipstick kiss that communicates a passionate kiss.

If friends ask why you’re sending emoji kisses all of the sudden, let them know that it is paying heed to National Kissing Day. Perhaps they’ll want to join in on the fun as well!

View Some Kissing-Themed Art

In honor of National Kissing Day, take a look at some famous art that reveals the love behind the theme of kissing. Whether heading to a museum to view some kissing art in person or just checking it out online, here are some great pieces to admire:

  • The Kiss by Gustav Klimt (1908). The most popular work by this Austrian artist, the characters of this painting are life-size wrapped in gold, making a stunning impression where it hangs in the Belvedere Austrian Gallery. 
  • In Bed: The Kiss by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1892). This piece, painted in thinned oil on cardboard by a French aristocratic artist, is a post-impressionist masterpiece that is part of a private collection today.
  • Kissing the War Goodbye by Victor Jorgensen (1945). This famous photograph reveals the delightful scene of New York City when Japan surrendered in World War II. A sailor kisses a nurse as everyone around them celebrates. 
  • Kiss II by Roy Lichtenstein (1964). One of a colorful serigraphy that is reminiscent of a comic book scene, this piece shows a range of emotions in this pop-art style. 

Make a National Kissing Day Playlist

Create a compilation of all sorts of songs and have them playing in the background or on headphones all throughout National Kissing Day. In addition to anything by the band “Kiss”, try some of these songs to get started:

  • Kiss from a Rose by Seal (1994). A part of Seal’s second eponymous album, Seal II, this Grammy-winning song was also featured in the film The Neverending Story III and Batman Forever.
  • Kiss by Prince (1986). Enjoy the upbeat music of Prince (or the artist formerly known as) along with this band, The Revolution. This song has also been covered by Tom Jones and hundreds of other artists.
  • Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer (1997). The release of this song and its subsequent use in the 1999 film, She’s All That (starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook), brought the rather unknown band a lot of attention.

The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss) by Cher (1990). Originally released in 1957 by Betty Everett, Cher’s version of this song that went along with the film, Mermaids, starring herself and Winona Ryder.

National Kissing Day FAQs

Does kissing relieve stress?

In fact, kissing a person you want to kiss has been shown to be healthy by lowering cortisol, reducing stress, increasing confidence and boosting happy hormones.[1]

Can kisses heal wounds?

While saliva may actually speed the healing process in the mouth, science has not shown that “kissing” a wound is helpful. It’s just something moms do![2]

How did kissing start?

Many researchers think that the practice of kissing started as a process of rubbing the noses together, then the lips got involved.[3]

How is kissing healthy?

Regular kissing with a trusted partner can be beneficial to one’s health by reducing blood pressure, soothing cramps, relieving headaches, improving cholesterol and even burning calories.[4]

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