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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 October 2018

It's World Laughter Day

Laughter Yoga is the best medicine.
Jarod Hackenberg, seven, flies past Nira Berry, left, during a laughter yoga session. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images
Jarod Hackenberg, seven, flies past Nira Berry, left, during a laughter yoga session. Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Assuming you're not suffering from anything more serious than hiccups, laughter is - as everybody knows - the best medicine. It's also something that you could be hearing a lot of today. Dr Madan Kataria may not have invented laughter (that was, of course, Professor Roger Chuckles in 1924), but he did bring us Laughter Yoga, the movement that encourages unconditional chortling for physiological and psychological benefits, and with it World Laughter Day.

Traditionally held on the first Sunday in May each year, WLD has aimed to bring "World Peace Through Laughter" since 1998. In that time, 6,000 "Laughter Clubs" have reportedly opened across the world and now, according to Snigger-Master General Kataria, 70 countries will be celebrating the event, which should see thousands break out into unprovoked fits of giggles.

Unfortunately, while WLD may land on the weekend for most international fans of hearty hooting, here in the UAE it's on a working weekday. We therefore advise that offices set up soundproof Laughter Rooms, or allow at least five minutes an hour for unbridled hysterics.

Dedicated WLD events will hopefully be arranged across the UAE (sadly, plans to affix the world's largest comedy moustache on the Burj Khalifa didn't get the required planning permission). According to the WLD website (www.worldlaughterday.org), such events usually see laughter club members, their families and friends congregate in squares, public parks or auditoriums and "laugh collectively". This is, apparently, followed by a reading of a message from Dr Kataria. On a more serious note, anyone taking part in WLD needs to take into account the strict midnight laughter curfew. Due to a scheduling conflict, tomorrow is now International Utter Despair Day. Only joking!