Photo Jonas Ekströmer /TT.

Kindness week brought back to spread smiles

3:40 min

Amidst the dark and gloom of winter the Swedish aid agency Läkarmissionen has breathed new life into a tradition known as the national kindness week. The week is meant to encourage kind actions in the work place, in traffic and on the internet. 

The national kindness week dates back to 1946 when, in the wake of the Second World War, the founder of Läkarmissionen Harry Lindquist decided it was time to spread kindness and smiles in Sweden. It was prompted by a Swedish traffic counter who noticed that out of the over 8,600 people who passed in a day, only 12 people looked happy, the rest he said looked like they were going to a funeral.

The national kindness week was abolished just before the turn of the millennium and this is the first time it's celebrated in 15 years. Marcus Holmgren at Läkarmissionen says Sweden is ready to celebrate kindness week again. 

"Swedes got used to it in the past and Halloween stole a lot of attention from the kindness week. It feels like a good time to bring it back in these stressful times," Holmgren says. 

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