Spotlight: When and How to Celebrate National High Five Day

You see it at professional baseball games, Pee Wee football practice or whenever someone makes a good shot on the girls’ basketball team. The high five has become a part of American culture. It is so ingrained in our culture that is celebrated every April 19th, which is National High Five Day.


History of the High Five

Did you know that the high five is only about 41 years old? There is some dispute about who created it, but one version says that it started in 1977 when a Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, Glenn Burke, high fived another outfielder, Dusty Baker, after a home run.

There is an account that gives the Louisville Cardinals basketball team credit for the high five. This claim has the invention of it during their 1978-79 season, claiming it was first done on court during a game. Although no one knows its origins, the roots of the high five is from doing the low five.

The low five is rooted in jazz culture and was done by artists like Al Jolson, Cab Calloway, and the Andrews Sisters. It was known then as “slapping skin” and done after or during a performance. The Andrews Sisters had a song called “Gimme Some Skin, My Friend” that was released in 1940.

Today, babies, dogs, and even cats are taught how to high five. The fist bump evolved from the high five, and, if you’re really excited about a good play from your favorite team, then you may give a friend a high ten, which is using both hands.

national high five day

How National Days Get Designated

There are hundreds of national days in the United States, even though they are not formally recognized. These days are often made up by corporations to promote products, non-profit organizations to promote a cause or people who love something and want a day for it.

There is National Taco Day, National Cheeseburger Day, National Coloring Book Day, and National Pizza with the Works, Except Anchovies Day. National weeks, months and international days exist for almost anything as well.

One way to get a national day designated is to submit an application to the website www.nationaldaycalendar.com to register a national day. If the application is chosen, the site will:

  • Send out a press release with the news of the designation. It will be sent to the media followers of their website, which is about 20,000 newspapers, radio stations, and talk show hosts.
  • It will be announced on their Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as posted on the calendar on their website.
  • The person or organization who applied for the national day will receive a 20” x 30” certificate with a proclamation of the national day.

You can always take it upon yourself to declare a national day, like National Yo-Yo Day or National Disc Golf Day, but it may only be celebrated by you and your friends. Applying for a designation is a good way for a national day to get recognized by more than your inner circle.


Celebrating National High Five Day

High five day is fun to celebrate, and there are many ways to do so. Aside from giving everyone you know a high five, you could try to break a world record.


Guinness World Records for High Fives

Guinness has several world records in their book designated for high fives. If you want a unique way to celebrate National High Five Day, you could try to break one of them. Some of their world records are for:

  • Most High Fives in an Hour.
  • Most High Fives in One Minute.
  • Most High Fives in 24 Hours.
  • Longest High Five Chain.
  • Most High Fives in Relay in Three Minutes.
  • Most People Performing a Jumping High Five Simultaneously
  • Most High Fives Given a Mascot in One Minute

Of course, Guinness has specific rules for each world record, including these high five records. The guidelines for each one is sent to those who apply to break a specific record. The guidelines help to standardize and verify each record or attempt at a record.

national high five day celebration

Most High Fives in an Hour

The current world record for Most High Fives in an Hour by an individual was set on August 5, 2016, by a man in India. Vickrant Mahajan gave high fives to 2,514 people in Jammu, India. He wanted to set the record to promote camaraderie among students.

Most High Fives in One Minute

This world record was set on April 21, 2016, by workers at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. The company did it for their “High Thrive” campaign and recorded 290 high fives in one minute.

Most High Fives in 24 Hours

One high five record that has stood since 2012 is the Most High Fives in 24 Hours. It was set in Brisbane, Australia by Pete Timbs during a fun run. As runners went by him, he high fived them and received 14,607 high fives in only five hours. He did it to raise money for the Kids Help Line.

Longest High Five Chain

The Longest High Five Chain record was broken in Avondale, AZ at the Fiesta Bowl on November 30, 2016. The Fiesta Bowl and UnitedHealthcare invited 3rd to 8th-grade students from Playworks to break the record to bring awareness to the importance of playing in schools. The students managed to give 3,473 people high fives.

Most High Fives in Relay in Three Minutes

This world record was broken in London on July 29, 2017. It was done by Brother at a Brother event run, and it was one of four attempts at world records at the event. Brother employees high fived 492 people during the relay within three minutes.

Most People Performing a Jumping High Five Simultaneously

This world record involved doing a high five while jumping and 2,209 pairs of people broke the record on May 18, 2017. It was done in Bogota, Colombia by the company Grupo Bogota. It was a group activity designed to engage Grupo employees.

Most High Fives Given by a Mascot in One Minute

Sometimes the participants in these high five records are not entirely human. On September 30, 2017, the mascot for the University of Indiana, who is named Udley, high fived 128 people in one minute. The Greyhound mascot set the Guinness World’s Record for the Most High Fives Given by a Mascot in One Minute at the University’s Homecoming football game.

While Guinness isn’t the only organization that records world records, their records are the only ones that are officially recognized around the world. They publish an almanac each year with the current world records. They also have a website with the records and information about attempting a record on it.

celebrating national high five day

Silly High Five Records

The website Record Setter also records world records for high fives. The attempts need to be recorded and sent to their site to be posted.

Some of the records are silly, such as:

  • The most half-court shots missed while attempting a high five.
  • Most alternating high fives with a medical model of an adult skeleton in one minute. The record is 161 if you’re interested.
  • The coldest high five.
  • The highest high five.
  • The shortest high five.

The high five records go on and on for a total of 55 of them on their site. So, if you have some time to spare, go watch the short recordings.

Strange Ways High Fives were Celebrated

Some people have done strange things to celebrate high fives, including quitting their jobs. An Australian by the name of Craig Lewis decided to quit his job to travel the world and give high fives. He went to over 56 countries before settling in Kenya to help build a school and youth center.

During his adventures, he helped support Theirworld, which is an organization that helps kids around the world fulfill their potentials. They started a #5for5 social media campaign, which involves giving high fives to kids five years old and younger to draw awareness to their charity.

celebrating national high five day

High Five Campaign

Another way to celebrate high five day is to participate in the #VirtualHigh5Challenge. The campaign is another social media challenge that involves posting on your Facebook or Twitter account about the challenge and tagging five friends to give them virtual high fives.

When you tweet or post the challenge on your accounts, a donation of $5 will be made by the company Highfive to CoachArt. CoachArt is a nonprofit organization that creates athletics and arts programs for kids with chronic illnesses. Along with kids ages five to 18, they also include siblings in their programs.

Their programs include teaching group lessons to give children new skills, special events like attending a baseball game, in-home lessons for kids who are homebound due to their illnesses, and clubs they and their siblings can join.


High Fives For Everybody

Of course, the only way to celebrate National High Five Day is to give someone a high five. Have fun with it at work, challenge friends or a group to do it, or invent a silly high five record and post it online.