Global Belly Laugh Day Joins the TC Jewish Humor Festival January 24

Global Belly Laugh Day, a worldwide observance to celebrate the gift of laughter, will be a featured event of the annual Twin Cities Jewish Humor Festival next Sunday, January 24th.

“Everybody benefits when we share laughter,” says Sarah Routman, a Minneapolis-based laughter yoga leader and teacher. “People will be doing this all over the world on the same day, and we’ll all be healthier and happier.”

Global Belly Laugh Day was first held on January 24, 2006 to celebrate the great gift of laughter that has the power to transform every moment of every day, everywhere in the world.

Elaine Helle founded Global Belly Laugh Day when she realized that people celebrate love on Valentine’s Day, gratitude on Thanksgiving, and even flossing (the day after Thanksgiving). So, she figured, shouldn’t laughter get equal time?

Now the holiday is celebrated all over the world at 1:24 p.m. local time on January 24. Ms. Routman, a certified International Laughter Yoga Specialist who leads workshops around the country, will conduct a special celebration from 12:30-2 p.m., beginning with ‘smile push-ups’ and ending with a special laughter meditation. At 1:24 the group will join the global celebration, sending out belly laughs into the universe.

Even if you don’t think something is funny, your body doesn’t know the difference,” says Ms. Routman. “You get all the health benefits anyway, and in a social setting laughter becomes contagious.”

For the first time, Global Belly Laugh Day has been incorporated into the Jewish Humor Festival, which hosts comedians, improv workshops, author appearances and lectures over the last two weeks of January.

“It’s a great event and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” Ms. Routman said. “This is such a perfect venue for what we do.”

In addition to group celebrations, the organizers of Global Belly Laugh Day are asking people around the world to stop for a laugh at 1:24 p.m. on January 24.

“Whether you’re by yourself or with friends, you can share in the day,” said Ms. Routman, who presents customized healthy laughter seminars around the Twin Cities and across the country. “There is an old Yiddish proverb that says, ‘What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.’ ”

The giggle-, snicker- and chortle-filled party, which coincides with similar festivities around the world, takes place on Sunday, January 24, at 12:30 p.m. Sarah Routman, a Minneapolis-based laughter yoga leader and teacher, will lead the interactive session at the Sabes JCC Theatre at 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road in St. Louis Park. Tickets are $5 per person/$10 per family and the public is invited.

Anyone outside the Twin Cities who wants to join in the fun can visit the Official Belly Laugh Day website.

Michael Precker is a former reporter and editor for the Dallas Morning News, and a Times of Israel blogger.