National High Five Day

a man and woman giving a high five for National High Five Day

National High Five Day is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of April! 

This day is all about spreading positivity and happiness through the power of touch. High fives are one of the most common ways we express our appreciation and congratulations, and this day encourages us all to give high fives to friends, family, and strangers we meet on the street! 

Where did this fun day come from? Read on!

The History of National High Five Day

Well… the origin story of the high-five itself is somewhat murky, with some different claims and legends surrounding its inception.

One popular story, and the story we’re going with here, credits the creation of the high five to Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke, two baseball players for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the late 1970s. According to this story, Burke raised his hand during the last day of the regular season to congratulate Baker after he hit a home run, and Baker responded by slapping his hand.

Regardless of who started it or where it began, the high five quickly became a popular gesture of celebration and camaraderie, both in sports and in other areas of life. 

Now the story of the actual day is not so murky!

National High Five Day was actually founded by a group of University of Virginia college students in 2002. That is seriously right in my backyard. My husband is a Wahoo!

Now, the story goes that a group of friends was sitting on the main quad of the campus (The Lawn) discussing how they could create a holiday that would be fun and positive. They landed on the high five as a gesture because it embodied celebration and positivity, and they excitedly decided to create a holiday around it.

The first National High Five Day was held on the third Thursday in April in 2002. This group of students handed out lemonade and high fives to everyone they encountered on campus and encouraged others to do the same. The holiday quickly gained popularity on the university campus and soon spread to other colleges and universities around the country.

The Significance of National High Five Day

While high fives may seem like a simple gesture, they actually have a profound impact on our emotional and physical well-being. We all know that positive touch can reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness and well-being. High fives are a quick and easy way to connect with others and spread positive energy.

High fives also have practical applications in a variety of settings. In sports, high fives are used to celebrate victories and show support for teammates. In the workplace, high fives can be a way to acknowledge a job well done or boost morale. And in everyday life, high fives can be a way to connect with strangers and spread kindness.

Now how can we go about having fun with this special day? Read on!

How to Celebrate National High Five Day

There are many ways to get involved in National High Five Day and spread the joy of positive touch. Here are a few ideas:

  • Give high fives to friends, family, colleagues, passersby and even total strangers.
    • Whether it’s a celebratory high five after a big project or a friendly greeting in the morning, taking the time to connect with others through touch can have a powerful impact.
  • Host a high five competition.
    • Challenge friends or coworkers to see who can give the most high fives in a day, and reward the winner with a prize or recognition. And most definitely , a high five!
  • Use social media to spread the word.
    • Share photos and stories of high fives on social media using the hashtag #NationalHighFiveDay. This can help spread awareness of the holiday and inspire others to get involved.
  • Donate to a charity.
    • Many organizations use National High Five Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a good cause. Consider donating to a charity that supports positive touch, such as a children’s hospital or a mental health organization. St. Jude would be a great children’s charity to support. 
  • Learn more about the power of positive touch.
    • Take some time to read up on the science behind high fives and other forms of positive touch. Understanding the benefits of these gestures can help you appreciate their significance and spread.

When should you give someone a high-five?

The better question is probably when should you NOT give someone a high five. LOL

But here are situation where you shouldn’t, like a wake. That would not be very appropriate. Now, I know we could go for some dark humor here, but let’s keep it kind, huh?

Here are some situations when it is appropriate to give someone a high-five:

  1. When celebrating a success: If someone has accomplished something noteworthy or achieved a goal, like getting a promotion or passing a hard class, giving them a high-five can be a great way to show your congratulations and support.
  2. When greeting a friend: If you haven’t seen a friend in a while or are excited to see them, a high-five can be a fun and friendly way to greet them.
  3. When completing a task together: If you have just finished working on a project or completing a task with someone, giving them a high-five can be a way to show your appreciation and teamwork.
  4. When playing a sport: High-fives are commonly used in sports as a way to celebrate a good play or show support for a teammate.

It’s important to note that not everyone may feel comfortable with a high-five, especially in professional settings or with people you don’t know well. In these situations, it’s best to read the room and the other person’s body language to determine if a high-five is appropriate or if another gesture would be more suitable.

If they are standing stiffly with their arms crossed? Probably NOT the best time to give them a high five, huh?

Ok, so how many times have you seen very famous people give each other a high five? Loads probably…especially if you’re an avid sports fan. AmIRight?

Let’s talk about some of those special slaps!

Famous High-Fives and one Fist-bump

There really have been quite a few famous high-fives in history. From athletics to royalty, here are a few of the best:

  1. The Origin of the High-Five: As mentioned above, the first documented instance of a high-five occurred at home plate during a Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros  baseball game. It was on October 2, 1977 between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke after Baker’s home run.
  2. The University of Louisville Cardinals basketball practice: In 1978, there was a well-known moment in the history of the high five. On a regular practice day, two players on the team, Wiley Brown and his teammate Derek Smith, celebrated a successful play by jumping up and slapping hands. It was a spontaneous gesture, but it caught on with their teammates and soon became a regular occurrence.
  3. The Magic Johnson-High Five: During the 1980 NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson gave a high-five to teammate Michael Cooper after Cooper hit a three-point shot. The moment was captured on camera and became an iconic image of the Lakers’ championship victory.
  4. The Princess Diana High-Five: In 1997, Princess Diana was visiting a children’s hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, when she was greeted by a young boy who offered her a high-five. Diana enthusiastically reciprocated the gesture, and the moment was captured in a photograph that became widely circulated.
  5. The Barack Obama Fist-Bump: During the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle gave each other a fist-bump on stage at a rally. The moment was seen as a departure from traditional political greetings and became a symbol of the Obamas’ youthful energy and relatability.

These stories show how the high-five has become a cultural touchstone and a way for people, including celebrities, to connect and express positive emotions.

Now the high five isn’t the ONLY type for fun physical gesture you can do to celebrarte!

What are some other celebratory gestures like the high-five?

There are lots other celebratory gestures like the high-five that are used around the world to express excitement, congratulations, or appreciation. Here are a just few:

  1. Fist bump – a closed-fist gesture where two people touch their fists together, commonly used to express congratulations or agreement.
  2.  Fist pump – celebratory gesture where a person raises a clenched fist, then quickly and forcefully thrusts it forward and upward in a punching motion. The gesture is often accompanied by an expression of excitement or enthusiasm, and is commonly seen at sporting events or concerts.
  3. Hug – a physical embrace where two people wrap their arms around each other, often used to show affection or support.
  4. Chest bump – a celebratory gesture where two people jump and bump their chests together, commonly used in sports.
  5. Clapping – the act of striking one’s palms together to create a sound, often used to express appreciation or approval.
  6. Handshake – a greeting or congratulatory gesture where two people grasp each other’s hand, commonly used in business or formal settings.
  7. High ten – similar to a high-five, but both people use both hands to slap together above their heads, often used in sports or other team settings.
  8. Low-fives – the traditional way to slap hands in excitement where one person hold a hand straight out and another slaps it.

These celebratory gestures can vary depending on the cultural context, but they all serve as ways to express positive emotions and connect with others. Connection = good!

National High Five Day is a super fun and meaningful holiday that celebrates the power of positive touch and its impact on our emotional and physical well-being. High fives are a simple and effective way to connect with others, boost morale, spread kindness and celebrate even one little success. They are also a great reminder of how a little celebration can make a big impact on your day.

By getting involved in National High Five Day, we can create a ripple effect of positivity and make a difference in the world. So, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and give someone a high five on this special day – you never know how much of an impact it could have. 

Happy National High Five Day!

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