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The days of our lives

Today is World Heart Day, a day that reminds you to look after your heart’s health, which is not to be confused with Valentine’s Day, the day that commemorates pink hearts and soppiness.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 25, 2010 23:39 IST

Today is World Heart Day, a day that reminds you to look after your heart’s health, which is not to be confused with Valentine’s Day, the day that commemorates pink hearts and soppiness.

I should use this opportunity to lecture you — after all, 80 per cent of heart disease can be prevented by eating healthy, quitting smoking, getting more active and managing stress — but I won’t. Everyone deserves an occasional lazy Sunday morning sans the stress of knowing you’re making some wrong lifestyle choices. Life is about living with the choices you make, whether they are good, bad or just plain stupid.

Instead, I’ll use this very day to remind you of many other such days that go unnoticed despite having been thrust upon the world by the UN and sundry other organisations.

Apart from World Heart Day, September boasts of eight other UN days. There’s International Literacy Day on September 8, World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, International Day of Democracy on September 15 (a day which one-fifth of the world’s population in China will not celebrate), International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on September 16, International Day of Peace on September 21, World Maritime Day on September 23 World Tourism Day on September 27 and World Rabies Day on September 28.

October is even more eventful, with 15 UN days cramming the calendar. Beginning with October 1, which is the International Day for Older Persons and National Voluntary Blood Donation Day (not to be confused with World Blood Donor Day on June 14), the month boasts of International Day for Non-Violence on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, October 2.

Then comes World Teachers Day on October 5 (as opposed to India’s teacher’s day on September 5), World Habitat Day on the 6th, International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction on the 8th, World Mental Health Day on 10th, World Sight Day on the 14th, International Day of Rural Women (but why the bias against us city folk?) on the 15th, World Food Day on the 16th, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on the 17th, World Statistics Day on October 20, UN Day and World Development Information Day on October 24, and World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27.

And these are just the UN days. Some, such as World Psoriasis Day (an autoimmune problem that makes the skin red and scaly) that falls on October 29, are yet to get UN sanction.

Among the most bizarre UN days is World Television Day on November 21, and International Day of Nowruz, which was celebrated for the first time this year after it was recognized by the UN Special Assembly in February. I must admit I had to look it up to find out more. I discovered that it was recognised by the UN to celebrate a the Persian new year. Nowruz, which means new day, has been celebrated on the spring equinox on 21 March for over 3,000 years by more than 300 million people in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.

The most radical celebration of the seasons, though, has to be World Orgasm Day, celebrated on different days by fringe groups. The most blogged about celebration is on 22 December to mark the solstice. The idea is to get people people around the world have an orgasm at the same time while thinking about peace to emit positive energy. This one, obviously, is yet to make it to the more staid UN list.

I’m told special days help raise awareness about the issue, which makes me wonder how celebrating the Persian New Year will make the world a better place. Or how an international reminder to watch more television, which goes against the grain of health advice to couch potatoes to watch less television, would make us healthier. It would, though, make millions happier.