Hope the foreign Hug Day Celebrations on 21st January come to India in a big way to revive Telangana’s once common Gale Milna / Kagalinchukonudu tradition – that is hugging three times by holding one another behind the upper arms/upper back while their chins relax briefly on opposite shoulders as they swing their shoulders right, left and then right again each time with their faces coming across as they switch from one side to another. Nowadays we see this traditional greeting being observed only with the Groom at weddings. And once very popular among women relatives, this has almost become extinct.
National Hug Day or Hugging Day is celebrated widely in USA, UK, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Russia and Iran. It is a holiday in some of these countries! The holiday was founded on 29th March 1986 in Caro, Michigan. And gradually it spread to other countries. Kevin Zaborney and Adam Olis are credited for creating the holiday. The date of 21st January was chosen as it falls exactly between two grand celebrations, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The purpose being, to keep camaraderie between people over a longer period and to promote hugs, as they establish much warmer relationships than handshakes or high-fives.
Research has shown that human contact has many health benefits. It is proved that human contact improves both psychological and physical development. And in this context, hugging has been found to be beneficial, it is said to build a good immune system, decrease the risk of heart disease, and decrease levels of the stress hormone.