Figuring Out Firgun: Why We Should All Celebrate this New Selfless Holiday

07/13/2016 02:43 pm ET Updated Jul 22, 2016
MadeinJLM and other volunteers celebrate Firgun Day

Recent events have rocked our world and our hearts no matter where you call home. During these stressful times, we tend to draw inwards towards our roots; the people we love and the emotions that hold us together. These connections make the dark days a little brighter and the best days even better. Don’t you wish there was a day to celebrate the wonderfulness of those around you? This year, on Sunday July 17th, there is.

Last year, Mashable featured a list of 12 words describing love that are difficult to translate into English. One of those words, and one of those emotions, is “Firgun,” pronounced feer-GOON, which is defined in the article as:

 “The simple, unselfish joy that something good has happened to someone else.”

This week, that word will help thousands of people get through difficult times.

Firgun is a Hebrew word with Yiddish origins, and one non-profit organization in Israel is trying to spread the positive vibes by dedicating an entire day to it once a year.  The third annual International Firgun Day is on Sunday, July 17th, and MadeinJLM of Israel explains the process: “You come up with a Firgun — a compliment, a kind word, a proverbial pat on the back — for someone (person, business, or group) and post it on your social networks, adding their photo. Then tag three friends and write: ‘I choose to pass my #FirgunDay Challenge to X, Y, Z.’ ” 

The idea is to recognize your family, friends, and even complete strangers for something positive that has happened with them – or just because they deserve some praise!  MadeinJLM comments on the purpose of the holiday: “For one day a year we give credit to those who deserve it all year long!” For those having trouble coming up with what to say, developers have created the Firgun Generator, which will generate a complementary and quirky two-sentence phrase in one of five different languages, which you can copy and paste into your social media post.

 

          Some of the latest generated Firguns include:

            -   You light up my life with your presence.

            -   Strangers all want to sit next to you on the bus

            -   Is there an airport nearby? I think I can hear my heart taking off.

            -   Even when life gives you avocados, you make guacamole. 

 

Hanan Brand, one of the cofounders of MadeinJLM comments: “The best examples we saw of Firgun posts were those addressed to others who didn’t expect it at all. Like your cashier, your mother’s caregiver or a local street artists. We are so focused on our own personal lives that it’s really uncommon to appreciate someone’s work or success publicly, and that’s why people really love that on FirgunDay it’s completely fine to write public positive posts to others, without feeling “guilty”.”

This event begins on Sunday July 17th in Israel, which will be late in the evening in the U.S. on Saturday July 16th. Participants typically start Firguning as soon as the weekend hits. The ultimate goal is to get the whole world to take a day, and recognize all of those little things that make up the true fabric of our lives.

Whether you use the incredible Firgunator and some of the Firguns above, or use this weekend to celebrate the successes of others, honor the goodness that is Firgun Day.

It’s your turn to join the party via the official Firgun Day Facebook Page and participate on any social media platform or in person with your Firgunee. Happy Firgun Day!

Sharon Schweitzer co-wrote this article with Michael Ravitsky.  Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS KEYE We Are Austin, popular on-air contributor, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015. 

Michael Ravitsky is a Summer Intern with Sharon Schweitzer at Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. He is a recent graduate of University of Texas at Austin where he studied Business Management. Feel free to connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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