We’re normally pretty sanguine about made-up holidays, as they’re usually just marketing stunts instead of “real” holidays whose commercialization came way after their invention. But World Kindness Day is different, because who wants to be anti-kindness?
It also overlaps with Cardigan Day, a celebration of Fred Rogers, possibly the kindest American in history (and definitely the one who taught kindness to more adults and kids than any other American). The latter holiday was created by WQED, the Pittsburgh public television station where Rogers filmed his show for decades.
Both holidays were celebrated yesterday, and there were a couple of notable celebrations that deserve your attention. First, at the UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, the staff dressed up newborns in red cardigans, brown pants, and knit booties made to look like sneakers, an approximation of Rogers’s signature look.
Joanne Rogers, the widow of the late TV icon, stopped by to see the babies and looked genuinely touched to be celebrating with them.
The other great Rogers news from yesterday? The American Archive of Public Broadcasting uploaded a short documentary entitled “Creative Person: Fred Rogers.” It was floating around YouTube for a while, but now it’s on a legal platform sponsored by the Library of Congress and WGBH.
In glorious black and white, the film opens with a long line of families standing in the rain, waiting to go into a live Rogers performance. It was released in 1967, the year before his show debuted. It’s only half an hour long, and it’s worth watching for the early rendition of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and rare footage of Rogers using puppetry and music to connect with a child one-on-one.
Our recommendation: dress your kid in a red cardigan, throw on the documentary, and celebrate a belated World Kindness Day and Cardigan Day by celebrating America’s cardigan-clad kindness king.