Dubai: The UAE is celebrating with the rest of the world the International Day of Happiness today. But what is happiness, really?

The International Day of Happiness is celebrated every year on March 20 with the aim of making happiness a fundamental human right and goal for all of humanity.

The annual event was founded in 2012 and adopted by the UN in 2013 through a resolution in order to address “complex, interrelated challenges faced by humankind in the ultimate quest to achieve happiness” and to solidify the point that happiness is a human right and goal for all, regardless of race, gender, or religion.

According to, the theme for this year is #TenBillionHappy, which basically aims to “inspire, develop and promote initiatives across the board to secure ‘happiness for all’ by 2050”.

The celebration is also marked in the UAE with a number of events, spearheaded by the Ministry of State for Happiness.

With the many aspects to achieving happiness, we asked UAE residents a simple and fundamental question: “What makes you happy?”


1) Chitlada Tapradith, 45, Thai, businesswoman

“If I have good health, I am happy. Imagine if you’re sick, what’s your life gonna be like? How would you feel? You’d feel sad or depressed. I observe that if people around me or if someone is sick, they’re sad and stressed. But if you have good health, you can do everything. You can go shopping and do whatever you like. I like to go to the gym to exercise, that really makes me happy. After a workout, I feel that I have more energy — all the stress, everything else is gone. I have power to work more and more and at night I always get restful sleep.”


2) Mohammad Arif Sadeq, 26, Bangladeshi, ticketing manager

“Being around with optimistic people who motivate me to accomplish my dreams and support me either at work or at home, I really can’t tell them apart. This is happiness for me! And for me, happiness is really simple. It’s in the little things in life like good health, good vibes and making a difference. All that matters to me is that I am doing what I love the most in my work and personal life. This keeps me inspired and helps me spread happiness and love for all.”


3) Diane Dalangin, 22, Filipino, marketing professional

"I have tried all sorts of things to “make” myself happy — going on trips, travelling, spending time with a bunch of friends, watching movies, shopping, partying — yes these will give you happiness, but it is rather shallow and temporary.It is when you know you fulfil your life’s purpose that you truly become really happy. What makes me truly happy is when I walk closely with God, delighting in Him in prayer and His word, and having the strength to obey what He says, and to actually see Him working in and through the lives of the people around me. To know that the Creator of everything speaks to you through His word, nothing else can give you more happiness than this — deep and lasting happiness.”


4) Simimol Raijo, 31, Indian, ICT teacher

“Happiness for me is when my heart feels warmth. My daily routine can cheer me up; my family, my job, my friends, my passion these are the main components of my happiness. I like to sleep with music on, drink hot chocolate, dance, sing, watch comedy movies with my family. I really like to learn and experience new things, to listen to really funny jokes, to walk on the beach, to daydream, to smile, to laugh, to spend time with my parents and sisters, to play with my daughter Ashika and son Aiden, to share my world with my husband Raijo, to know that I am not alone.”


5) Mohammad Nafees, Pakistani, chartered accountant

“I came to Dubai in 1975 and got married in 1978. All my children were born in Dubai. We have been so happy since coming here that neither my family nor me wants to return. All credit goes to the vision of the Ruler of Dubai for the development which has taken place in Dubai for the last 20 years. He has been very kind and generous to allow expats like us to buy our own home in Dubai, which is a dream for all of us. I lived in my country for 25 years and in Dubai for 42 years. So Dubai can be considered my first home. My family has grown here and I am satisfied that I was able to achieve what I had dreamed of before coming here.”


6) Cherry Ankrah, 19, Ghanaian, university student

“What makes me happy firstly is my family, and then my religion, Christianity, and God. I am now living a new adventure as I pursue my degree here in Dubai on my own, without my family as they are back home. This is the first time I‘ve been out on my own to explore the world, a process some people call “adulting”. It’s interesting to know that I’m actually doing stuff on my own and it feels good to be responsible for myself. I fight homesickness by calling my family every single day — that’s another thing that makes me happy. Also, going around Dubai, knowing it’s a very safe and cool city, makes me very happy.”