Free hugs are a festive gesture

Kindness from strangers has been taken to a whole new level this Christmas with free hugs offered on Dean Street yesterday.

Meditation teacher and author of 13 Weeks to Awakening Ian Peric said he felt guided to deliver the free embraces in the name of charity and compassion.

“I just want to contribute to the community and free hugs was beautiful for Christmas,” Mr Peric said.

“You never try to force a hug — most people are accepting but some are nervous.”

Mr Peric, who grew up in Wodonga, offered his services from 10am to 1pm, hugging around 10 people, mostly tourists.

He had planned to stay later but a lack of people on the street meant he decided to give his arms a rest and head home.

But he’ll be back today from 10am to 4pm and hopes to hug Border residents out for the Boxing Day sales.

Mr Peric has taken his inspiration from the Free Hugs Campaign, which was started by Juan Mann in the Pitt Street Mall, Sydney in 2004 and featured on Oprah and in a viral YouTube video.

Mr Peric is holding free meditation at Felltimber Park in Wodonga every Tuesday at 7am for the next four weeks.

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