Jan 21 is National Hugging Day: Have you hugged someone? Here are some famous hugs and huggable people

It does not matter if you like bear, cheek or side-to-side, Jan 21 is the day to embrace all types of hugs.

The National Hugging Day, also known as International Hug Day, or Global Hug Day, is supposed to "encourage people to openly express themselves through hugging".

Created in 1986 by Kevin Zaborney, this day also marks its 30th anniversary.

Embracing fills the body with oxytocin, also known as the "bonding hormone", and a hug is said to stimulate the thymus gland, help ease blood flow and lower cortisol levels and, most importantly, alleviate stress.

Studies showed that children with lack of touching and attention stunted their growth and adversely affected their behaviour.

Hugging and physical touch also becomes increasingly important with age, according to a study by researchers at Ohio State University.

Here are some famous hugs and huggable people you might not know about:

Most sought-after hug

A Special Olympian with Down Syndrome Tim Harris has been named Most Huggable Person of 2016 on the official National Hugging Day website.

Harris is also the owner of Tim's Place Restaurant in New Mexico, United States.

His hug is described as the most sought-after, as it is "one that never gets cold, is sweet but not too sweet, guilt free, calorie free, and guaranteed to brighten your day", according to the restaurant's website.

Even US President Barack Obama received a hug from Harris in August 2014 at a Special Olympics celebration.

Hugging Saint

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi hugging devotees at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on April 6, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi draws fans from all over the world with her "motherly embrace".

Also known as Amma, or "mother", she was given the title of the Hugging Saint as she is believed to touch a person's emotional core and solve all the troubles of modern life, just with a hug.

Amma's website stated that she has embraced and comforted more than 34 million people.

Doggie hug

Animals, too, know that hugging helps. Two shelter dogs were saved just moments before they were euthanised when a photo of them embracing became viral.

Potential adopters came forward and within two hours, US shelter Angels Among Us Pet Rescue was able to find new homes for hound mix Kala and boxer mix Keira.

The dogs were later adopted by two best friends from Atlanta who saw the story in American magazine People.

Singapore-style hug

In what might spark a new trend to end disputes, two drivers in Singapore were seen hugging it out after a road accident this week.

An older man started shouting at the younger driver at first, and a verbal confrontation ensued.

But the duo then started shaking hands and hugging each other in the end before tending to their vehicles.

Dolly hug


If you can't hug a person, a doll helps too.

A Heavenly Hug Angel, created by Gloria Mecca in 2008, is said to "offer comfort to anyone going through hard times" and is meant to "bring an inspirational message that there is always hope and we are never alone".

After she lost one of her children tragically, Mecca started to meditate and one day during meditation, she saw a clear image of the doll.

The doll has long arms, allowing the person to wrap it around himself.

She then drew what she saw, bought fabric and recreated the doll.

Meanwhile, famous personalities and celebrities have taken to social media to share photos of their hugs.