TODAY, in case you’re interested, has been dubbed United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. It is also, apparently, International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

They are both, I’m sure you’ll agree, fantastically important causes and let’s hope many people respond to the efforts to highlight them and the issues they seek to tackle.

Who decided to convey these titles on June 26 and how and why they chose this particular day is a mystery. But many people I talk to these days tell me they’re weary of “national this day” and “national that week.”

It can be a great tool for drawing attention to important issues but, surely, this is an idea that’s over-used and widely abused?

There was a great deal of attention last week around Bring Your Dog to Work Day which, as well as being a bit of fun (for some) also raised money for a good cause. Other significant causes to mark last week included: International Widows Day and International Women in Engineering Day, to name but two. However, it seems Friday was designated (by somebody) National Kissing Day. Why? It seems it was the 12th consecutive annual event (the other 11 passed me by somehow) and was created to “celebrate the part that kissing plays in society”. Again, why?

It’s not that I’m against kissing (far from it) but when even the organisers say it’s “difficult to say who actually thought of the idea” it does make you wonder what it’s all about.

This week started well with the Day of the Seafarer – to “recognise the unique and vital role of seafarers” and encourage standards for their welfare and safety – which was shared with the start of National School Sport Week.

It goes downhill tomorrow, though, with International Sunglasses Day, and on Saturday, apparently selected as the start of National Dim Sum Week which, on further investigation, turns out to have been instigated by restaurateurs in London’s Chinatown to promote East Asian food. Incidentally, Saturday is also Armed Forces Day, a far worthier event to celebrate.

These so-called “awareness days” are often cooked up (forgive the pun) for purely commercial reasons which, to my mind, devalues the whole idea and detracts from efforts to highlight really important issues and causes.

Most journalists will tell you they are plagued by press releases about these events constantly dropping into their inboxes and, yes, still piling up the paperwork on their desks.

Awareness-day fatigue does nobody any favours. If they happen every day they cease to be special and the eyes of the people that marketeers most want to pay attention to them – journalists – start to glaze over and their efforts end up in the bin.

The danger is issues that matter can be overlooked because of the plethora of ones that really don’t. It would, for instance, be easy to pass by Don’t Step On a Bee Day (July 10) – which highlights the serious threat to our vital bee communities – while rightfully disregarding National Tequila Day (July 24) and World Chocolate Day (July 7).

Yes, yes, I know we all like chocolate but do we really need to be made any more aware of it than we are?

The point is that awareness days are an over-used idea and a lazy “go to” for marketeers charged with getting publicity for a product.

At least the people behind National Kissing Day are honest enough to admit that the widespread coverage they had on ITV, the BBC and Sky News, among others, “reached an audience of over 33.7 million, created an advertising equivalent of £113,329 and a PR value of £339,988.”

Which says it all.

* If you want to find out about something really worth being aware of, look up Bradford Safeguarding Week (which began yesterday) on It aims to develop the skills of staff and volunteers caring for abused children and domestic violence victims, among others. As David Niven, Chair of the Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, says: “Safeguarding really is everybody's business.”

* Plan for the future of our city centre is a sight to see

ON THE subject of awareness, if you run a shop, a business or other organisation in Bradford city centre, you really need to know about the launch of the Bradford Business Improvement District (BID) business plan at the Pictureville cinema, in the National Science+ Media Museum tomorrow evening (6pm).

The event will see the unveiling of the details of the strategy – more than a year in the making – which aims to raise £2.5 million from businesses and spend it to improve the city centre over the next five years. One not to miss!

* Bradford’s literary festival is cultural feast for all to enjoy

IT’S FAIR to say that Bradford Literature Festival has established itself as one of the biggest – if not the biggest – events on the district’s calendar. Last year it attracted more than 50,000 people to 350 or so events over a period of 10 days. It has genuinely but Bradford on the map, nationally and internationally, and for all the right reasons.

This year’s (fifth) event, from the Gruffalo’s appearance at The Broadway, to TV historian David Starkey on Henry VIII’s own Brexit, from boxer Frank Bruno discussing his life to talks on black holes, serial killers and Daoism, is a fantastic celebration of the world of books and our cultural heritage.

I defy anyone with even the slightest appreciation of the written word not to find something to engage, enlighten or captivate them. It starts on Friday and runs until July 8. Enjoy!