UN Chinese Language Day Date in the current year: April 20, 2016

UN Chinese Language Day Chinese Language Day is an annual observance held on April 20. It was established in 2010 by the UNESCO along with the rest of the official Language Days in the United Nations. These Days focus on promoting multilingualism and cultural diversity.

Originally Chinese Language Day was celebrated on November 12, but in 2011 the date was moved to April 20. This date roughly corresponds to the beginning of Guyu, one of the solar terms in the traditional Chinese calendar. On this day, Chinese people honor Cangjie, a legendary figure who is believed to have invented Chinese characters.

According to legend, when Cangje invented Chinese characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. The word “Guyu” actually means “rain of millet”, that is why Cangjie is honored on this day. Cangjie is considered a mythical rather than historical figure, he is even said to have had four eyes.

Chinese is the world's most widely spoken language. Its most widespread variety, Mandarin Chinese, has nearly a billion native speakers in China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is interesting to know, that linguists regard Chinese as a group of language varieties, while native speakers typically describe the varieties of Chinese as dialects of a single language.

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Cultural Observances, UN Observances


Chinese Language Day, cultural observance, UN observance, Canjie, language days in the UN