Chinese language day is celebrated on the 20th of April annually. Chinese is the oldest language that exists on this planet. It has billions of speakers who speak it as their first language.
Chinese language day
The United Nations 2010 took the initiative of celebrating all six languages on six different days every year. The main goal to celebrate the language is to celebrate the multilingualism and cultural diversity. Chinese language day happens to be on April 20th. The department of public information of the United Nations initiated the days dedicated to each language. Moreover, they also planned to promote all the languages throughout the organization.
Historical background of Chinese day
Chinese as a language was given its place in the United Nations in 1946. However, even after including it in the list of UN languages, it was not much in practice and use. Later in 1971, the United Nations restored the place of the people’s republic of China. Additionally, Chinese was considered a working language in 1974 by the UN’s general assembly.
As for the selection of the date 20th April to celebrate the Chinese language day, this date was initially selected to pay tribute to Chinese scholar Cangjie, who was a legendary figure in China. He is one of the great historians of China and he was the one who invented Chinese language characters around 5000 years ago.
Chinese language day was celebrated in 2010 for the first time. However, the important thing to note it was celebrated on the 12th of November. They changed the date later to 20th April. There was Guyu and the significance of Guyu behind this decision. Guyu holds great significance in Chinese history. Chinese people celebrate ‘Guyu’ and that too on April 20th. The event of Guyu is celebrated to honor Cangjie. ‘Guyu’ word refers to the rain of millet.
Cangjie had four eyes and four pupils. Also, it is reported that when he invented Chinese characters, other gods and ghosts cried and later sky rained millet in order to pay tribute to Cangjie. As the Gregorian calendar tells Guyu or Rain of millet happens to be on the 20th of April so the Chinese planned to go on the same date so that they celebrate their language culture, poetry, and literature in the world.
Events and activities
Different events, activities and quizzes, and carnivals are held every year. UNSRC Chinese book club organizes a three series event at UN headquarters in New York. It has its focuses on three main pictographs as
- Liangzhu inscribed symbols
- Dongba script
- Oracle bone script
Interestingly these three pictures imply the association of it with three cultures and three sites which are also included in the UNESCO’s world heritage sites. These are
- Archeological ruins of Lianghzu city
- The old town of Lijiang and
Furthermore, three events include
- A detailed tour of the Lianghzu Museum
- Dongba script and language class about it
- An informative briefing about the Chinese characters, their origin, and evolution
Chinese language day activities
The Chinese celebrate the Chinese language very enthusiastically. They organize different activities. Chinese schools and institutions organize events to make the most of the day and language. The people who are new Chinese learners or intend to excel in the language aim to practice these things on Chinese language day.
Learning some Chinese
The ex-pats and people who have to celebrate the language day set their goals to learn some Chinese. Thank you is “xiexie” in Chinese. Taking it phonetically it is like “she-ye she-ye”. Trying to utter it as a single word helps and this is how it starts.
Visiting a Chinese restaurant
Evident learners of Chinese can celebrate their Chinese day by visiting their favorite Chinese restaurant and can have their favorite Chinese dishes. However, if someone doesn’t know about any particular dish, they can always try Peking duck. It tastes yummy and at the end of the meal with taste buds in nirvana, they may feel good and elated thanking the server in Chinese.
Watching a Chinese movie
Going to a Chinese movie is another entertaining activity that Chinese enthusiasts can opt for to celebrate the day. Also, it is interesting to know that most of the action-packed and stunning movies and entertainment comes from China. If still someone needs the suggestion they can go for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. The enthusiasts can instantly have the feeling about the Mandarin language, its beauty, and how entertaining and beautiful Chinese moves are. There is a full world that can have thousands of genres to explore on chine language day.
Reasons for celebrating Chinese day
Saying thank you to China
One of the important reasons to celebrate Chinese language day is to say thank you to China for everything it has brought us. Noodles, everyone’s favorite junk food came from China. Also, paper was invented in China. No one can think without living paper. Moreover, remember Earl Grey tea? Despite the name, this tea is a special gift from China. So all the enthusiasts can think about the aforementioned good things about china on Chinese language day.
China has choices
The Chinese language is not a limited language. It is the world’s oldest language. Chinese can conveniently claim 11 languages. These are relevant to each other along with Mandarin as the main national language. Moreover, it is interesting to note that Chinese all over the world speak more than 1500 dialects.
Celebrities and stars speak French
Movie stars and celebrities from Chinese movies, all speak Chinese. Who doesn’t know about Jackie Chan who is the world’s funniest stuntman? Jet Li is another popular martial art. Michelle Yeoh was one gorgeous and beautiful bond girl. So yes, some of the world’s coolest and great talented people speak Chinese, which is great. Isn’t it?
Those who look for activities to do on Chinese language day can celebrate the day by joining a Chinese language class. They can also get themselves affiliated with the UN and other organization which organizes events, workshops, and even concerts all over the globe. People can easily participate in such activities. Later posting the pictures and thoughts on the event is always a great idea.
Fun facts about the Chinese language
- Canjie invented and wrote the Chinese language for the first time in 2650 for the first time.
- It was in 1911 that China adopted Mandarin as its national language. It was declared a national language after Dr. Sun Yat Sen defeated the Qing dynasty.
- Chinese was included by the United Nation in their language list officially in 1946. The situation got even better when the People’s republic of China regained its well-deserved and lawful; rights in the UN after more than 25 years.
- UN assembly made changes and adopted Chinese in 1973. UN security council made Chinese their working language in 1974. It was only after 1974 that more staff and officials of the UN started working with the Chinese people.
- Soon after achieving these milestones, around 1.3 billion speakers of Chinese made the language rank number one in the world. Standard Mandarin language is the official language in the largest part of mainland China and Taiwan. The whole population is one firth of the world’s population, and it is also a common idiom that is used at UN headquarters.
Chinese language days are observed on April 20th by Chinese enthusiasts. It was initiated by the United Nation to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. It is also reported that the Chinese legendary figure Cangje invented 5000 Chinese characters 5000 years ago and also caused the rain of millet, so they celebrate the day on the same date to pay tribute to Cangjie. Different people celebrate the day with different activities all over the world.