Free Hugs & Smiles: Spreading Love in Zagreb

Total Croatia News


We need 12 hugs a day to thrive – here’s how to get your daily dose of affection and brighten up someone’s day in return

Any plans for Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re heading to a dimly lit restaurant for a romantic dinner or staying home in protest, keeping all the chocolate to yourself, here’s an idea on how to give and receive some much-needed love regardless of whether you’re single or taken. The Hoppipolla Association is organising a heartwarming manifestation at the Jelačić Square in Zagreb on February 14: Free Hugs and Smiles!

Starting at 6 in the afternoon, Hoppipolla’s volunteers will set a social experiment in motion: sharing a couple of hugs with people in passing and hopefully starting a chain reaction of kindness, making the world a better place for an hour or two.
In case you wish to receive this unusual gift as well, the only thing you have to do is show up at the main square with an open mind. Participating in an exchange of positive vibes with other well-meaning strangers sounds like a great thing to do on a day that celebrates love; is there anything better than walking away knowing you’ve just brightened someone’s day?


So… why hugs? It was proven that hugging is crucial to our physical and emotional well-being. Us humans reportedly need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 hugs to keep on going, and 12 hugs a day to thrive.

Apart from recharging your emotional batteries, the experiment is also a great way to discover something new about yourself and others. While this experience entails leaving your comfort zone for a minute, allowing a perfect stranger to enter your personal space, it’s worth discovering what might happen when you selflessly give away something as intimate as a hug to someone you don’t personally know.



The Free Hugs initiative aims to develop a culture of trust, equality, and a positive way of thinking. The experiment was devised in order to encourage people to connect and to inspire change in individuals. One hug is enough to make anyone feel better instantly, and it only makes sense to pass on that great feeling to someone else.

Hoppipola was founded with a simple, often cited idea in mind: be the change you wish to see in the world. They regularly carry out projects by which they encourage the community to share common experiences though inspiring stories and activities, with a generous dose of kindness and positivity.

Wednesday, 6-7pm, Jelačić Square – drop by and spread some love!


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