Year-round Festival Series 27 – International Forgiveness Day – Who will you forgive today?

On the first Sunday of August, the International Forgiveness Day is celebrated. This festival originated in Vancouver, Canada, by a non-profit educational foundation called the Global Forgiveness Alliance. The mission of the organisation is to evoke the spirit of forgiveness. They believe that “Forgiveness Is the Greatest Healer of Them All” and that “Without Forgiveness There Is No Future“. A life of forgiveness and non-violence will reduce violence and conflict, reduce stress, improve health, and create a richer, more empowered life. This organisation conducts forgiveness seminars for abused women, seniors and high school students. Founded in 1996 by Robert W. Plath, the organisation’s main goal is to establish International Forgiveness Day as a holiday to be celebrated worldwide.

It is refreshing to see the establishment of this holiday. It turns out that forgiveness is an ability, and it is an ability that needs to be honed, like a muscle. Expanding our ability to forgive others is not only important for our own health, but also for making our lives easier. Who wouldn’t want to be generous, tolerant and loving?

List of Heroes and Champions of Forgiveness

The highlight of the International Forgiveness Day celebrations is the recognition of heroes and champions who have been recognised for their commitment to forgiveness, non-violence and peace. These heroes have experienced the healing power of forgiveness and non-violence in an attitude of forgiveness. Champions of forgiveness also include African Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu, who abolished segregation, and South African President Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa to become a multiracial democracy. Last year, International Forgiveness Day was celebrated in 20 cities in the United States and by groups in nine countries.

The International Forgiveness Day even promotes forgiveness as a life skill and aims to reach out to children, teenagers and adults of all ages and to train trainers. In addition, the organisation also runs forgiveness workshops in corporations to increase employee breakthroughs and help increase net profits. The organisation also aims to establish an International Forgiveness Day in every village in the world by 2025.

Who will you forgive today?

Every day we are in the company of others, so every day we have the opportunity to be offended by others. Forgiveness is a daily task. When we choose to let people off the hook, or respond with humour, and are willing to tolerate their indiscretions, or their misunderstandings, it is admirable. Because it’s not easy to forgive an offence, and it’s even harder to forgive a hurt. It is important that we also forgive ourselves for our mistakes, errors and guilt. Forgiveness is also a direction of healing in psychology.

At the social and political level, forgiveness also plays an important role in public affairs. Hannah Arendt, political philosopher, author and survivor of the Nazi Holocaust, refers to forgiveness as a liberating force, both individually and collectively, in the face of irreparable wrongs, so that people no longer respond only to the initial wrong:

“Forgiving is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven.”

#YearroundFestivalSeries # InternationalForgivenessDay #forgive #health


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◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.

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