Every year on May 23, the 143rd day of the year, people of all backgrounds celebrate 143 Day. 1-4-3 is a code for “I love you,” popularized by the beloved Fred Rogers, an American television personality and writer best known for his children’s TV series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
While 143 Day has become a popular holiday celebrated across the world honoring Rogers’ legacy, it is especially prominent in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the cardigan-wearing TV star.
The state of Pennsylvania invented the holiday in 2019 to encourage residents to share acts of kindness statewide, affirming the special, wonderful things about us all.
While Rogers held closely — essentially superstitiously — the sacredness of 143 (he even maintained a 143-pound body weight for decades), it doesn’t take a lot to remind someone you love them.
Rogers even said it himself during a primetime “Neighborhood” Christmas special many years ago:
“I suppose the thing I’d like most to be able to give you is hope,” he addressed viewers. “I hope you’ll be able to look for all the different ways that people have of showing that they love you.”
We’ve collected the most wonderful ways for you to celebrate 143 Day this year →
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
How to Celebrate 143 Day
Look for the helpers.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Our work celebrating good news has always been inspired by Fred Rogers’ passion for filling the world with more love, kindness, and compassion.
And it’s not toxic positivity; it’s about finding the people who are doing what they can to help others, connecting to the people who are in need of a little extra help, and joining them in community to make the world a better, more loving place.
So, we implore you to look for the helpers today (and every day), because, we promise: They’re out there.
Here are some stories about helpers to get you started!
- Healthcare helpers
- Helpers in Ukraine
- Teacher helpers
- Climate justice helpers
- Helpers using art and media for good
- Gun violence helpers
- LGBTQ+ helpers
- Helpers making a difference in government
- Ordinary everyday helpers
And, of course, check out all of our good news stories.
Read and share quotes from Fred Rogers.
Speaking of powerful Mister Rogers quotes, there is no shortage of wisdom from the man himself.
In fact, we’ve compiled a list of — get this — 143 Mister Rogers quotes to help you connect with the 143 ethos and honor his legacy.
Read books by and about Fred Rogers.
Of course, if you’re looking for some more long-form Fred Rogers wisdom, he has a whole library of books you can explore, too!
Aside from his own published works, there are also loads of Mister Rogers-related media that tell the story of this unique, kind-hearted man, and help us delve even deeper into the 143 lifestyle now that he has passed on.
Here are a couple of favorites we’d recommend:
- “The Mister Rogers Effect: 7 Secrets to Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Others from America’s Beloved Neighbor” by Dr. Anita Knight Kuhnley (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers” by Fred Rogers, illustrated by Luke Flowers (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “You Are Special: Neighborly Words of Wisdom from Mister Rogers” by Fred Rogers (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way” by Fred Rogers (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Be sure to check out our full list of Mister Rogers books, too!
Be a good neighbor.
Being a good neighbor is more than just bringing over a casserole when the going gets tough (but that’s still great — don’t stop doing that!)
Being a good neighbor, as Mister Rogers showed us, means making a difference. This can look like being a fierce advocate for the causes you believe in, showing up doing whichever types of activism are most purposeful for you, and simply being kind to others.
Introduce yourself to someone new in your town, set up a sharing or borrowing system in your apartment building, or even host an event to delight in the community you call home.
On 143 Day especially, consider what it means to be a good neighbor and how you can be an even better one tomorrow.