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Ideas and Activities for Celebrating International Peace Day

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

Discover some activities you can do to celebrate the International Day at Peace, whether at home, school, or work.

Discover some activities you can do to celebrate the International Day at Peace, whether at home, school, or work.

What Is the International Day of Peace?

Every September 21st, the United Nations calls all people and nations to celebrate a day of cease-fire and embrace the concept of peaceful resolutions locally and globally.

The making of the International Day of Peace has an interesting story. We have Jeremy Gilley to thank for it. He is from England and fought hard to make the Day of Peace fall on September 21st every year.

Before 2002, the United Nations sponsored a day in honor of peace, but it never requested that people stopped fighting, and it didn't have a specific date. On September 7th, 2001, after many letters and meetings with different world leaders on Gilley's part, the United Nations agreed to create the International Day of Peace on September 21st. It was a day that asked the people of all nations to agree to ceasefire and nonviolence.

Right after the UN voted to enact this day, 9/11 happened. In the midst of all the turmoil, Gilley pressed on. It seemed like the world needed to acknowledge peace more than ever before.

Neighborhood school peace garden

Neighborhood school peace garden

Ways to Celebrate Peace at Home

You can do many things to commemorate the International Day of Peace on September 21st. The suggestions with asterisks (**) are kid-friendly.

  1. Stand in a moment of silence at 12 noon.**
  2. Light a candle in honor of peace.
  3. Read and write peace poems.**
  4. Watch the "Peace" video.**
  5. Sing songs about peace.**
  6. Read about different peacemakers.**
  7. Make peace resolutions in your own life and write them down so you can be reminded of them. For example, you can aim to work on your temper, try to curb road rage or smile more often.**
  8. Plant a peace garden.**
  9. Give someone a peace lily.**
  10. Reach out to someone who has angered or upset you, or someone you don't like very much. Either send them peaceful thoughts or actually make amends with them.**
  11. Read and post peace quotes on social networking sites.
  12. Watch a movie about a peacemaker.
  13. Check out the Mosaic Children's Project.** Listen to their songs of peace and donate!
  14. Resolve to create a more peaceful life with yourself and evaluate your relationships. Ask yourself: Are there people around you who cause you stress or make you angry? Can you look at these relationships and see if they can change for the better? Can you sit down with him or her and resolve to bring more peace to your lives?
  15. Print out some peace quotes and post them around to help you never forget to keep the peace—always.**
  16. Write to lawmakers to adopt more peaceful approaches to domestic issues and international relations.**
  17. Organize a Peace March.
  18. Learn a fact or two about other countries and cultures to help foster a better understanding of our world community.
Peace Chain: Each link has a "Peace Intention" on it.  There are nearly 400 links in this particular chain—a whole school's worth!

Peace Chain: Each link has a "Peace Intention" on it. There are nearly 400 links in this particular chain—a whole school's worth!

Ways to Celebrate Peace at School or Work

In addition to looking at ways to celebrate at home, you can bring peace to the place you work or attend school.

  1. Read stories about peace to a gathering of coworkers or students.
  2. Make peace flags to distribute.
  3. Make peace windmills and "plant" them in a garden.
  4. Get involved and spread a message of peace all year long.
  5. Make a peace chain at your school or community.
  6. Encourage your school to adopt an anti-bullying campaign and/or a Peace Curriculum.
  7. Make posters of Quotes on Peace and post them around the building.
  8. Find out the heritage of co-workers and classmates and have them share something interesting about their country/heritage of origin. Only do this if they want to, though.
  9. Organize a Peace Parade.
The human symbol for the letter "N"—nuclear.

The human symbol for the letter "N"—nuclear.

The human symbol for the letter "D"—disarmament.

The human symbol for the letter "D"—disarmament.

The Symbol of Peace

Many have wondered where the symbol of peace originated. Gerald Holtom, an English artist, created the symbol in 1958. He used it as a symbol of protest decrying nuclear weapons. He chose the naval semaphore symbol for the letter "N" and the letter "D" and put them together in one symbol. The "N" and the "D" stood for nuclear disarmament. Putting these two signs in a circle was also significant because a circle is "complete." Thus, it meant complete nuclear disarmament.

Arms Going Down or Arms Going Up?

Unfortunately, occult groups also began to use this symbol, marring its original intent. Holtom, regretting that he had not originally used the symbol with the arms going up, began to use his symbol right-side-up, echoing the letter "U" for Universal. He requested that the peace sign with the arms going up be put on his tombstone. Unfortunately, this wish was not honored, and the stone bears his original peace sign as he drew it.

Currently, peace foundations are trying to convey that the symbol with the arms going up is the one to use so that it doesn't draw up negative historical connotations and communicates a message solely of love.

Poem on Peace

I am human

Part of a world community.

I choose some peace

To unite our posterity.

I am human—

I am perfectly imperfect.

No one's better—

Peace and unity, we connect.

Creating peace

A World of interdependence

Tolerant and

Hopeful, united in our difference.

—C. Calhoun

Playing for Change

Have you ever noticed how music, song, and dance really bring people together? Around the world, people congregate in droves to attend concerts and peaceful gatherings.

The motto of Playing for Change is "Connecting the World Through Music." Once you have seen the video they made entitled "Stand By Me" (shown above), I have a feeling that you'll walk with a little more pep and smile a little more during the course of your day. It is heartfelt and citizens around the world collaborated to make this moving video.

The whole movement started with the Playing for Change founders who heard someone singing "Stand By Me" (Roger Ridley) a block away. They went to investigate . . . and now the whole world is involved, playing for peace and understanding through music.

Thoughts on Peace

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 22, 2013:

Rebecca - I did the same exact thing. :)'re in northeastern Georgia?!? You're only a little ways away from me. :)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 21, 2013:

This is awesome. I had forgotten about this day. I am going to light my candle now and pray that the universe will someday live in complete harmony.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 27, 2012:

Bohemiotx - that's great! I'm glad you found my hub in that search. I appreciate your feedback so much. Have a great day!

Joffre Meyer from Tyler, TX on September 27, 2012:

Excellent, plenty of details. I did a search of U.N. International Day of Peace at Hub Pages to find this article.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 21, 2012:

Tillsontitan - hehe, I just love using your "username" it sounds like you're a brave warrior woman leading the a Peace Rally! :D Thank you for your kind thoughts and shares. Hubhugs!

Marsei - I always loved that song. :) PEACE ONE DAY! :) Hubhugs!

UnnamedHarald - I pledge to not neighbor's back yard. LOL. This is a really cool day to celebrate and it makes me so appreciate of all the peaceful moments I share with my friends and family. :) Cheers, peace and hubhugs!

David Hunt from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on September 21, 2012:

I also wasn't aware of this day (or it just slipped under my radar. Thanks for publishing this. If only, right? Maybe someday. But if violence even slowed down for just a day, that would be a start. On a lighter note, I pledge on behalf of Iowans that Iowa will not invade Minnesota... today at least.

Sue Pratt from New Orleans on September 21, 2012:

Lovely hub. I woke up thinking about the fact that it's "peace day." Kept thinking of Unity Church and the fact that they end their services with the song, "Let There Be Peace on Earth." Thanks for all the information, especially about the peace symbol, and for bringing this day to everyone's attention. "And let it begin with me."

Voted up and awesome.


Mary Craig from New York on September 21, 2012:

Great day to have this hub come up again! So much interesting stuff here Cyndi! Any sign, any celebration that promotes peace is a good one and I would say this hub does just that...well done GF.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting...oh, and shared!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 18, 2012:

Melovy - likewise, my friend! It's a beautiful holiday - I hope it is widely recognized this year. :)

Yvonne Spence from UK on September 18, 2012:

Wow, this is great Cyndi. I loved reading about the peace symbol because I did not know its origins. You've also got some great suggestions for how to celebrate the day.

And thanks for linking to my hub!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on August 17, 2012:

Kelleyward - Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite holidays.

GTF - I'm glad you liked this. Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Claudia Porter on August 17, 2012:

Found out some new things with this article and really enjoyed it. Interesting. Thanks.

kelleyward on August 16, 2012:

Interesting article. I really like the ideas you shared here. Shared and voted up!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 13, 2012:

Thanks, molometer. Thank you for the vote and for your feedback. I am looking forward to seeing the poll results over time. Indeed, it will be interesting.

Micheal from United Kingdom on January 13, 2012:

Very interesting hub and a noble purpose. Hope the idea catches on. We need peace on Earth.

The poll on the hub, tell's us a lot though, about what people really think. Shame though.

Voted up.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 13, 2012:

alocsin - I didn't know about this day, either, until a few years ago. Then, as a teacher, I started doing school-wide assemblies in honor of this day. I published this hub now to give it time to be seen on the web so that if teachers see it, they can start planning early. I know I start planning for this day in May because when the kids go back to school, it comes up really quickly.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on January 13, 2012:

Dale - Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your stopping by to read. :) Peace, always!

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 12, 2012:

I didn't even know about this day. But you point out some good ways to celebrate it. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Dale Hyde from Tropical Paradise on Planet X on January 12, 2012:

Wonderfully done and well presented with an awesome reminder. Thanks for placing focus on this. Keep up the excellent hubbing!