World Hello Day is celebrated every year on 21 November, an occasion for anyone in the world to contribute to the process of creating peace with a simple “hello”.
“Hello” is among the most commonly-used (English) words in the world thanks to the telephone, the great inventor Edison having used it on receiving his first telephone call, though Graham Bell himself is said to have used “ahoy” throughout. It is found to be a relative newcomer into the English lexicon just around the early 1800s. Its precursor could have been “hail”, as found addressing the emperors (Hail Caesar – Shakespeare), which could have meant health (hale, health, whole), and might have had versions like “hollo”, “hallo”, “halloa” when shouted out amidst the din of crowds. Today, “hello” is a word easily addressable to anyone to greet, to catch attention of, to check on, if you are there.
World Hello Day was born out of the initiative of Michael McCormack, a student of Harvard, and his brother Brian, who sought an idea for a better world, with the bitter three-year Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Israel in the background ending in October 1973. While their fellow students busied themselves with academic tasks, the McCormacks dreamt of a peaceful world through personal communication. They spent all their savings posting letters to world leaders — not to be disappointed, they received endorsements from 15 within a year, and in due course, from 31 Nobel laureates and over 100 leading authors. Hats off to the well-meaning McCormacks who challenged us to step out of our boxes to extend peace!
J. Prasant CMI, holds a Ph.D. in Social Work (Community Development). He served as the Principal of Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi, for many years. An environmentalist, his work focuses on environmental education, organic farming, bio-diversity and waste management. In 2021, he travelled across India on a motorbike as part of the Trust-Green-Peace campaign.