July 30th the is International Friendship Day, a celebration declared by the United Nations in 2011 to highlight the idea that friendship can inspire peace efforts and build bridges. However, many countries celebrate it not on the UN date, but rather the first Sunday in August. You shouldn't need an excuse to tell your friend how awesome he or she is, but maybe on this day you might want to go old school and get them something traditional.

Traditional Friendship Symbols

Friendship bracelets originated from Native American cultures and were gifted from one friend to another. They are traditionally handmade, and should be worn until the threads fray to the breaking point. In this way, you show respect towards the time and effort your friend put into making it. There is a saying that if you make a wish on the bracelet, it will come true when it naturally falls off. Removing the bracelet before then not only forfeits your wish coming, but could also cause a relationship to develop into a soured relationship. The image of two arrows crossing is also a Native American symbol in bringing two people together. The Claddagh symbol, two hands holding a crowned heart, is a common symbol seen on promise rings. It's explained with the expression “with my two hands I give you my heart and crown it with my loyalty”. It's position on your hand is linked to your relationship status, for what is a romantic relationship other than a step beyond friendship? If you are single, the ring is traditional worn on the right hand with the crown inwards; your loyalty is to yourself. If you have given your loyalty to another, that is, you're taken, the crown is pointed outward. Those who are engaged should wear it on their left hand with the crown turned outwards. There are three flowers that symbolize friendship. One is the yellow rose, it symbolizes an honest and true platonic bond. Chrysanthemums are traditionally given to friends in Japan to represent the virtue of a true friendship. Jade plants, with their small pink and white flowers and deep green leaves, represents the energy and joy of a deep connection between friends. In gemstone culture, lapis lazuli is thought to promote clear thinking, emotional healing, and wisdom. As such, cultures all over the world like it to balanced relationships. Most specifically friendship and universal truth. Friends are the best thing you can have in the world. They are there to make us laugh and to hold us when we cry. They are our sounding boards for every idea from who to date to what bar to go to. Without them, every day would be bleak and our lives would be miserable. Friends protect us, care for us, scold us, love us, shape us in every way. Take the time to thank them from their presence. Give them one of the traditional gifts, or maybe just pay for their drinks.