Feb 21 · 3 min read
International Mother Language Day: All you need to know
International Mother Language Day is a day celebrated annually on February 21st to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world. The day is observed by UNESCO and was first declared in November 1999 to commemorate the Language Movement of Bangladesh in 1952, in which students protested for the recognition of their mother tongue, Bangla, as an official language of then-East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
The importance of language in defining an individual’s cultural identity cannot be overstated. Each language contains within it a unique set of cultural expressions, history, and knowledge that make it an essential part of an individual’s and community's identity.
Losing one’s mother tongue means losing an essential part of their cultural heritage and identity. That is why it is essential to preserve and promote the use of mother languages, and this is the main objective of International Mother Language Day.
The day aims to raise awareness of the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity around the world and encourage people to promote and protect their mother languages. It also aims to promote intercultural dialogue and encourage people to learn and appreciate other languages and cultures.
Every year, UNESCO selects a theme for International Mother Language Day, and this theme serves as a basis for discussion and awareness-raising. For example, in 2022, the theme was "Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities" highlighting the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all.
UNESCO has designated 2023's International Mother Language Day to focus on the theme “Multilingual education – a necessity to transform education”
The celebration of International Mother Language Day is not limited to Bangladesh but is celebrated worldwide. It serves as a reminder that language and cultural diversity is something to be cherished, celebrated, and respected, and that it is essential to preserve and promote languages and cultures as a way of promoting understanding and peaceful coexistence.
In addition to raising awareness of the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity, International Mother Language Day also serves as an opportunity to celebrate the richness and beauty of different languages and cultures around the world.
On this day, people participate in various cultural activities such as poetry readings, traditional music, dance performances, and cultural fairs. These activities serve to promote and celebrate the diversity of languages and cultures around the world.
In conclusion, International Mother Language Day serves as a reminder of the importance of linguistic and cultural diversity and the need to promote and preserve mother languages as an essential part of cultural heritage. It highlights the role of language in shaping individual and community identity and promotes the value of multilingualism in promoting peace, understanding, and inclusivity.
The day celebrates the richness and beauty of different languages and cultures and serves as an opportunity for people to appreciate and learn from one another. By promoting linguistic and cultural diversity, we can build a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world.
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