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Something’s Up with #HAPPYDAY

International Day of Happiness, UN

Liz Kasameyer

Carly Andrews - published on 03/20/14 - updated on 06/07/17

On International Day of Happiness Pharrell doesn't quite grasp it.

Happy International Day of Happiness! Apparently. Thursday 20 March has been named by the UN Foundation as a world day of happiness. Now in its second year, this time round they mean business, with campaign, celebrity and more.

The Foundation even has its own pop song to back it up: “Happy” sung by Pharrell Williams. The superstar promotes the Happy Campaign with various other video versions of the song, showing people around the world jumping around merrily and waving their arms around

Here is the New York version:

On the face of it, it seems like a great idea; we all want to be happy in a world where there is so much suffering.

I personally really like it when I’m happy. 

But just take a look at the words:

It might seem crazy what I’m ’bout to say

Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break

I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space

With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

Because I’m happy

Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

Here come bad news talking this and that (Yeah!)

Well, give me all you got, don’t hold it back (Yeah!)

Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine (Yeah!)

No offense to you don’t waste your time, here’s why…

Bring me down

Can’t nothing bring me down

My level’s too high to bring me down

Can’t nothing bring me down, I said…

Mmmm. The video may pull a laugh, but I have to admit, it is hardly inspiring stuff; particularly as a song promoting a world day of happiness.

Yes dancing around and pulling silly faces is lots of fun. I’ve done it many-a-time in my life, and had a blast. However I can’t help thinking that they have missed a little something here; well, actually something rather fundamental, about what happiness really is, and how it is achieved.  

The website too, talks about how important it is to be happy; they make the valid point about it not being achieved through consumerism; there are lots of studies and surveys and tips for being happy in your life etc. etc. but again, there is nothing on it that makes me think; Yes! They’ve got it! This is true happiness…this is what I am really seeking in my life!

Happiness as something more

Now, I’m no expert theologian so I am not going to attempt to enter into an in-depth discussion about the meaning of the nature of happiness. Besides, St Thomas Aquinas already does a pretty good job of it, which you can find here.

What I will do however, on this “International Day of Happiness”, is turn to a few words expressed by some truly amazing people that touch on the subject, which – in my own little journey of faith – I have found to be deeply inspiring.


Blessed (nearly saint) John Paul II 

People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him. True joy is a victory, something which cannot be obtained without a long and difficult struggle. Christ holds the secret of this victory.

Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati(in a letter to his sister Luciana)

You ask me if I am joyful; and how could I be otherwise? Seeing as Faith will give me the strength always to rejoice! Every Catholic can’t help but be joyful. Sadness should be banished from their souls. Suffering is not sadness, which is the worst disease.  This disease is almost always caused by atheism, but the end for which we are created guides us along life’s pathway, which may be strewn with thorns, but is not sad. It is happy even through suffering.

St Thomas Aquinas

Happiness is the attainment of the Perfect Good.

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