The Pursuit of Happiness


By Sumer Dene

The United Nations International Day of Happiness (IDH) is celebrated worldwide on March 20. The theme for 2019 is to focus on relationships, kindness, and helping each other. What does it mean to be happy? The answer is different for everyone. When people are happy they do great things. They become inspired, creative, and active in society. Investing in a happier world creates harmony. However, one person’s happiness can be another’s misery. Is happiness innate, or a learned behavior?

Dr. Hamid Bayati, former Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, is a diplomat, author, and academic. He presented a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly which was adopted by consensus in June 2012 to proclaim an International Day of Happiness. He has worked globally to spread awareness of the fast growing movement. “If we commemorate International Happiness Day, we can teach the meaning of happiness and why it is important. It starts with individuals to communities and spreads through society in workplaces, schools, and homes.” states Dr. Bayati. The idea of using happiness as a guide for government policies reaches back for decades. In Bhutan the government measures progress by happiness, not by wealth. Gross National Happiness is measured by education, living standards, health, governance, sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of culture, and environmental conservation. The World Happiness Report, inspired by the adoption of IDH, ranks 156 nations by quality of life. This encourages countries to recognize and support International Happiness Day by implementing strategies for a happier nation.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 is to end poverty, reduce inequality, protect the environment and improve access to necessary resources. The United Nations seeks to create policies that make a difference by uniting spiritual, civic, and world leaders to develop economic programs and institutions that balance modern culture and ancient traditions. The Persian New Year is called Nowruz, or “New Day.” Nowruz is the spring festival which is celebrated by 12 countries in the Middle East. It begins the exact moment of spring equinox, around March 21. Nowruz is an integral part of Persian culture that dates over 3,000 years. The ancestral festivities began from the Zoroastrians, one of the world’s most ancient monotheistic religions, predating before Christianity, Judaism and Islam. People share meals and gifts with family, deep clean their homes, and hold ceremonies of music, dance, and poetry to celebrate renewal of life. The people believed in a strong connection to the land, animals and elements, especially fire. Fire symbolizes God’s wisdom and purity, their God sees everything to be treated with love and respect. The United Nations recognizes Nowruz as a tradition of intangible cultural heritage. The religion still remains active and has prophesied the ultimate end to all evil.

The Happy Cafe was created by members of Action for Happiness, a movement of people taking action to create a happier society. Members have a vision to make the world a better place by improving state of mind, compassion, and social trust. It is designed for communities to connect over coffee and learn skills for a happier life. The Happy Cafe provides information in a range of literature, posters, pamphlets and postcards and creates a sanctuary for people to share ideas and advocate for love and kindness.

“Happiness is a feeling of peace and solidarity, regardless of circumstances. It is when you are grateful and positive. It all begins with small acts of kindness. Simple actions can make all the difference, even a smile can make someone’s day. We can summarize all United Nations objectives with one word: Happiness.” Bayati gleams. Happiness is not about the pursuit, it is about the happiness of pursuit. It’s about discovering who you are while being happy where you are right now. Download the app, “Action for Happiness” for tips, friendly reminders, and inspirational messages. For more information visit Come celebrate Happiness Day with us on Wednesday, March 20 from 5:30 to 7pm at the Chelsea Wine Bar at 4106 E NASA Pkwy in El Lago. Please RSVP at 281-474-5875.

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