World Humanist Day: a message from our President

How and why to celebrate World Humanist Day on 21 June.

  • blog Type / Membership blog
  • Date / 17 June 2021
  • By / Andrew Copson

Andrew Copson is the President of Humanists International and Chief Executive of Humanists UK. He has written and edited several books on secularism and humanism.

Dear friends,

Every year, on June 21, humanists all around the world come together to celebrate World Humanist Day. It’s an opportunity for humanists to publicise the common positive values that we hold, like human freedom, responsibility, free thinking, kindness and creativity. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the long tradition of humanist ideas which have helped to shape our contemporary understanding of the humanist approach. 

This history, stretching back to ancient times and with a wide reach, teaches us that humanist values of reason and evidence, the rejection of the supernatural, and the focus on living ethical and fulfilling lives in the here and now, are all ideas with a rich global heritage.

World Humanist Day is celebrated on 21 June each year, a date which, too, has a rich history. It marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the winter solstice in the southern. The summer solstice, one of the earliest astronomical observations in human prehistory, was essential to the survival of the earliest humans. It’s also an event of great cultural significance, and has been celebrated in some way or another for thousands of years. World Humanist Day is celebrated on this date partly to recognise the importance that science had to humanity’s early development and understanding of the universe, and partly in recognition of our shared history of communal gatherings, expressive of humanity’s artistic and creative capacities. 

People have chosen to celebrate World Humanist Day in the past with a diverse range of events, from proclamations, to ceremonies, picnics and parties, to videos and conferences. This year, we will have the pleasure of being able to experience a special virtual performance by a Flemish ensemble for contemporary music, hosted by Belgian humanist organization deMens.nu. Other events will take place all around the world, including for example the online conference organized by the Swiss Freethinkers – you can find all the information about the events on our website: humanists.international/world-humanist-day

I encourage all humanists, and those interested in humanism, to gather and attend any World Humanist Day events, virtual or in-person, that you are able to participate in.

At the same time, I encourage all humanists to consider celebrating this special day by joining Humanists International as an Individual Supporter: humanists.international/support

Your support can really make a difference for the lives of many less fortunate humanists all around the world – humanists who simply can’t celebrate like everyone else because they would risk their lives in doing so.

Whether it’s having a meaningful conversation about humanist philosophy, or simply experiencing the joy of re-connecting with humanist friends, I hope that you find a moment to be hopeful, this World Humanist Day.

Andrew Copson
President, Humanist International

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