National Hug Day first began in 1986, and was started by Reverend Kevin Zaborney in Caro, Michigan. Zaborney believed that Americans in particular live in a society where showing feelings in public is embarrassing, and he wanted to change that by putting hugs in the spotlight one day out of the year (it’s true, studies have shown that French couples are three times as affectionate in public than Americans). He chose January 21 because it fell in between Christmas/New Year’s and Valentine’s Day; it’s also in the dead of winter, a time period where most people’s spirits are low, so seemingly a perfect time. Though it’s not a national holiday, National Hug Day is officially recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The holiday has also since spread to other countries.