Since 2012, March 20 is being celebrated as the International Day of Happiness every year.
According to the United Nations (UN), which declared March 20 to be observed as the International Day of Happiness, the day recognizes that happiness is a fundamental human goal, and calls upon countries to approach public policies in ways that improve the well being of all peoples.
By designating a special day for happiness, the UN aims to focus world attention on the idea that economic growth must be inclusive, equitable, and balanced, such that it promotes sustainable development, and alleviates poverty.
Additionally the UN acknowledges that in order to attain global happiness, economic development must be accompanied by social and environmental well being
The initiative to declare a day of happiness came from Bhutan – a country whose citizens are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world. The Himalayan Kingdom has championed an alternative measure of national and societal prosperity, called the Gross National Happiness Index (GNH). The GNH rejects the sole use of economic and material wealth as an indicator of development, and instead adopts a more holistic outlook, where spiritual well being of citizens and communities is given as much importance as their material well being.
For the International Day of Happiness 2015 people are invited to focus on their connections with others.
The March Equinox, also known as the Spring Equinox, often falls on March 20 as well.
In 2015, the spring equinox has the unusual distinction of coinciding with both a supermoon and a total solar eclipse.
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Millions of people in northern Europe have glimpsed the best solar eclipse in years on March 20.
A great swathe of the Earth’s surface was plunged into darkness as the Moon came between us and the Sun.
The deep shadow formed first in the North Atlantic and then swept up into the Arctic, ending at the North Pole.
People keen to catch a glimpse of the rare phenomenon were advised not to look directly at it.
Looking directly at the Sun can cause serious harm, and skywatchers were directed to the multiple ways to catch an eclipse safely and in comfort.
Many professional and amateur astronomers positioned themselves in the Faroe Islands, where the capital city of Torshavn got totality for a full two minutes, beginning just before 09:41 GMT.
Those who could not book a flight or a hotel for the Faroes went to Svalbard, where the capital city of Longyearbyen witnessed two and a half minutes of totality, starting shortly after 10:10 GMT.
Irrespective of the cloud cover, scientists said citizens could still help them with their research.
The next solar eclipse will occur on March 9, 2016, and will cross Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, and extend out over the Pacific.
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Eye experts warn people not to take pictures of March 20 solar eclipse on a smartphone because of blindness risk.
The danger comes as people look directly at the Sun as they position themselves for selfies or other shots.
Inadvertently, glancing at the Sun – even briefly while setting up a shot – can lead to burns at the back of eye.
Experts advise indirect viewing, using pinholes and facing away from the Sun.
For many, this will be the first time they have witnessed the phenomenon in 15 years, but eye specialists say people should not use their camera phones to capture the event.
The safest ways to view the eclipse include using a pinhole camera to project an image of the eclipse on to a piece of card.
Other options involve using colanders to make multiple pinholes or using specifically designed eclipse viewing glasses.
Experts warn the glasses must be checked for damage first and should be put on before looking up at the sky.
It’s a Total Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands and Svalbard (Norway), and a Partial Solar Eclipse in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa. The eclipse starts at 07:41 UTC and ends at 11:50 UTC.
The sky will darken but the Sun will still peek out from behind the Moon.
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