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article imageOp-Ed: Songs of joy for International Day of Happiness

By Kathleen Creighton     Mar 20, 2014 in Music
In June of 2012 the United Nations established the International Day of Happiness to be celebrated on March 20th. Music plays an important part in helping achieve the goals of global happiness called for on this day.
Probably the most globally recognized song about happiness would be Friedrich Schiller's "Ode To Joy." Originally penned in 1785 by Schiller it is usually considered a work of Beethoven due to his setting in his 9th Symphony. The song has been included in movies like Die Hard and the video game Peggle. It is a closing theme for some television broadcasts of the Summer and Winter Olympics and became the official anthem of the European Union (EU) in 1993. Some Christians know the song as the hymn "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." In the summer of 2012 a video of a well-orchestrated, on many levels, flash mob was posted. It has since gone viral more than once.
Joy and happiness are themes in the religious and spiritual worlds. In 1993 Whoopi Goldberg reprised her role as Sister Mary Clarence and teamed up with Lauryn Hill for Sister Act 2. As the music teacher at St. Francis, Sister Mary Clarence forms a show choir and the kids get their happy on in competition with their own rendition of "Joyful, Joyful..." along with "Oh Happy Day" which featured the amazing musical chops of young Ryan Toby.
Of course there are all those age old standard "happy songs" — "Happy Birthday", "If You're Happy, You Know It" (go ahead, clap you hands), and "You are My Sunshine." Music has long been used to cheer kids up, get them to sleep and learn to work as a group.
Today there are tens of thousands of songs about joy and happiness. They cover every genre from country to hip-hop to heavy metal. Some spin on terrestrial radio regularly and others are found on Internet stations or on CDs purchased from artists at small club shows. Humans like feeling happy so the fact that we use all arts including music to recreate that feeling should be no surprise.
So to celebrate the International Day of Happiness and to celebrate the Vernal Equinox (Happy Spring everyone!) here are two great "happy songs":
Happiness by Sam Sparro
Happy by Pharrell William
To learn more about 2014 International Day of Happiness visit United Nations Radio
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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