Xavier students and Rabbi Abie Ingber deliver free hugs on Friday during Hug Day on Fountain Square

Hugs are offered between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. | April 12, 2012

About 20 Xavier University students and Rabbi Abie Ingber are giving out free hugs on Fountain Square downtown on Friday, April 13, between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

To the tune of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, the students will be holding up signs saying FREE HUGS. Watch for the signs and the Xavier T-shirts to know whom to ask for a hug. For those who don’t speak English, the FREE HUGS signs have translations on the reverse in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, French, Italian and German.

The students are not raising money. They are not protesting anything. They are not avoiding exams. They are just giving hugs.

There is a National Hug Day on Jan. 21. Founder Kevin Zaborney chose the day in 1986 as a time when people are in the emotional lows of winter. Friday’s event is not associated with National Hug Day, but it is a chance to share the positive emotions a hug provides.

Those good feelings have spread all over the world. Similar events happen in Europe, Asia and Africa, so why not Cincinnati? How bad can Friday the 13th be if you get a hug just for showing up?