Sixteen percent of people around the world speak Chinese. That’s 1.31 billion people! The United Nations recognizes Chinese as an important language and celebrates Chinese Language Day every April 20. Learn more here!
With 1,300 million Chinese speakers worldwide, especially in China, but also in almost every country, the language has a vital significance.
The United Nations, always on a quest to unite the world’s people, establish April 20 as the UN Chinese Language Day to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity.
There’s no doubt the Chinese culture and language have a profound impact on humanity. Despite being considered foreign and not connected with the Western world, Chinese culinary traditions, art, technology and values have deep roots in every European and American country. And the future will see the fall of cultural barriers for a better integration as one world and one people.
We celebrate UN Chinese Language Day with exhibitions, lectures, lessons, workshops and educational exchanges. Visit your local Confucius Institute, Chinese embassy or language learning center to learn about the calendar of activities planned for this important date.
It comes without saying any day is an excellent opportunity to start learning a new language. Chinese is a wonderful alternative for all the work and educational opportunities available in one of the largest and most populated countries in the world.
Added to this unique date, we’d love to remind you that every official UN language has a special date. We celebrate the Arabic language on December 18, the French language on March 20, and the Russian language on June 6. Spanish and English languages are marked on the same day, April 23, the death anniversary of writers Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.
History of Chinese Language Day
The first Chinese Language Day was actually celebrated on November 12, 2010, but since 2011, the official date was changed to April 20 to align with the Chinese solar calendar.
April 20 is ‘Guyu’ in China, a day to honor the Cangjie or the development of Chinese written characters.
The unique date in the United Nations calendar was set in place by the UN Department of Public Information in 2010, when the Chinese language was incorporated into the six official working languages. Everything the UN publishes, whether it’s on its website or other channels, is translated to these six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
This day, Chinese language teachers, artists, writers and public figures publish and share thoughts in Chinese to celebrate the complicated language and to invite the people to learn more about its beauty.
How to Celebrate Chinese Language Day
Get interested in the Chinese language and celebrate diversity! At least learn the Chinese words to say hello: Nǐhǎo (Nee how) and thank you: Xièxiè (Shieh-Shieh).
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