Juan Mann, who started the Free Hugs movement, seen at Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, Australia, 2006.
The Free Hugs Campaign is a social movement involving individuals who offer hugs to strangers in public places.
The campaign became famous internationally in 2006 as the result of a music video on YouTube by the Australian band Sick Puppies.
The hugs are meant to be random acts of kindness - purportedly selfless acts performed by a person for the sole reason of making others feel better.
This year(2009) Free Hug Day will take place Internationally at 00:01 on Friday February 13 until 00:00 (midnight) on Saturday February 14, at each countrys respective times.
The Free Hugs campaign in its present form was started by Juan Mann on June 30, 2004, when he commenced giving out hugs in the Pitt St Mall in central Sydney.
In the months prior to this Mann had been feeling depressed and lonely as a result of numerous personal difficulties.
However a random hug from a stranger made an enormous difference, with Mann stating that ...I went out to a party one night and a completely random person came up to me and gave me a hug. I felt like a king! It was greatest thing that ever happened.
Mann carried the now iconic FREE HUGS sign from the outset.
However on his first attempt in his hometown, where he returned to find that he was the only person he knew, as his friends and family had moved away, so he had to wait 15 minutes before an elderly lady came up to him and gave him a hug
Initial distrust of Juan Manns motives eventually gave way to a gradual increase of people willing to be hugged, with other huggers (male and female) helping distribute them.
In October 2004 police told them they must stop, as Mann had not obtained public liability insurance worth $25 million for his actions.
Mann and his companions used a petition to attempt to convince authorities that his campaign should be allowed to continue without the insurance.
His petition reached 10,000 signatures. He submitted it and was allowed to continue giving free hugs
Mann befriended Shimon Moore, lead singer for the Sick Puppies, shortly after commencing his campaign.
over a 2-month period in late 2004 Moore recorded video footage of Mann and his fellow huggers.
Moore and his band moved to Los Angeles in March 2005 and nothing was immediately done with the footage.
Meanwhile Mann continued his campaign throughout 2005 and 2006 by appearing in Pitt St Mall in Sydney most Thursday afternoons.
In mid 2006 Manns grandmother died, and in consolation Moore made the music video using the footage he had shot in 2004 to send to Mann as a gift.
The video was later uploaded onto YouTube where it became a popular video on the site.
On October 30, 2006, Mann was invited by Oprah Winfrey to appear on her show Oprah after her producers doctor saw the Free Hugs video on YouTube.
On November 22, 2008, at YouTube Live Sick Puppies did a performance of All the Same while Juan Mann gave hugs to crowd members.
A website that is generally recognized as the official site of the free hugs campaign, The Official Home of the Free Hugs Campaign, was launched in mid 2007.
A college student, Yu Tzu-wei, began a campaign in Taipei in October 2006 to hug everyone in Taiwan.
In 2006, a Free Hugs Campaign began in Tel Aviv, Israel. In Oct 2006 several Free Hugs Campaigns were organized in Italy.
On Oct 27, 2006 students Steve Loftus, Mark Wonnacott and Jeff Jones from Illinois-based McKendree University gave free hugs before game 5 of the World Series in front of Busch Stadium.
On Nov 6, 2006 a group of 11 people led by a 24 year old man named Baigu tried the same campaign in Shanghai.
In Belgium the Free Hugs campaign appeared near the end of 2006. On Nov 18, 2006 Geneva Online, organized the first Free Hugs event in Geneva, Switzerland.
In December 2006 the Students Union at the University of Limerick in Ireland ran a free hugs campaign.
On Dec 24, 2006, 2 Korean boy students in Singapore were featured in the local national newspaper, The Straits Times, for their free hugs campaign.
On April 14, 2007, Portuguese waitress Sara Viera living in Newcastle Upon-Tyne, England was reported on both BBC News and local press to be giving Free Hugs in the streets of Newcastle City Centre
In 2008, Oscar award winner and Golden Globe winner from India, A. R. Rahman, along with percussionist Sivamani created a song titled Jiya Se Jiya (Heart to Heart) - which was inspired by the Free Hugs Campaign and promoted it through a video shot in various cities in India
In Dec 2008, Quentin Mosimann, a talented French-Swiss writer-composer-singer, took this Free hugs movement up in his video clip Il y a je taime et je taime, a song about the different meanings of I love you.
February 2009 - Free hug offer startles downtown Toronto shoppers.
FREE HUGS - making others feel better Feel like a king and give same feeling to others.
Heart to Heart - Feel the real joy and confidence.
Show kindness like a Brother or Sister or Daughter or Son or Mom or Dad at least for that moment.
We all are children of the God, No stranger to us in this World.
No need to share your Wealth or Power, Share at least your heart kindness/love.
If everyone shares the kindness/love heart fully then we all will live with peace in this World by gaining enough strength to face our life issues.
Meditation and Yoga will give control on life and mind;Share the love and peace, leave the selfishness.
You will find God in Your heart by experience/practice.
We are all One, One World and One God; Spread the love and happiness.
>City(s) = Baltimore; State(s) = MD; Country = USA.
>Title = Free Hugs Campaign, Baltimore, MD, US - Video.
>Keywords = Free Hugs Campaign, Baltimore, MD, USA, Juan Mann, the movement, Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, Australia, social, strangers, Australian band, Sick Puppies, Hug Day, International, Shimon Moore, Oprah Winfrey, CouchSurfing, Couch Surfing, ourtripvideos, our, trip, videos, crlapindfrn (62)