Happy World Emoji Day! Where would we be without these lovable, laughable icons?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It's World Emoji Day. For lovers of the cute little distant cousin of the emoticon, there is plenty to celebrate. Why July 17? You may have noticed that's the date on the calendar emoji.

Credit: WorldEmojiDay.com

5 things to know about emoji

1. A man named Shigetaka Kurita created emoji. According to TheVerge.com, the eureka moment came around 1995 (the heydey of pagers), when a company called NTT Docomo added the heart symbol to its Pocket Bell. Demand was so high, Kurita (who worked for the company) came up with the emoji app.

2. Emoji v. emoticon. Remember when you had to rely on punctuation to create a smiley face? The first documented use of the emoji ancestor (at least according to Wikipedia) was in 1982. That's when a computer science guy named Scott Fahlman used the emoticons :-) and :-(, with a specific suggestion that they be used to express emotion. He posted to them to the Carnegie Mellon University computer science general board.

3. How many emojis are there? According to Emojipedia (it exists), there are more than 1,300 available to users across digital platforms.

Coming in 2016: 38 new ones, including bacon, Prince and owl. You can read about all of them via Yahoo News

4. You can make your own! There are apps for that. CNET.com recently posted an article about imojiapp.com; its motto is "Use less words." 

With the "free app for iOS and Android, you can make any picture--even one you've downloaded from the Web--into a custom emoji to share with your friends via MMS." -- CNET.com

5. You can track the most popular emoji used by Twitter fans. Warning: This screen may cause your head to explode. You can find more statistics here.

Feel like celebrating? The World Emoji Day website has suggestions! 

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