Mari Alphabet Day Date in the current year: December 10, 2024

Mari Alphabet Day Mari Alphabet Day is celebrated on December 10 in the Mari El Republic of the Russian Federation. It was created to increase interest in the history of the Mari language and to raise awareness of the importance of its preservation and development.

The Mari language belongs to the Uralic language family. It is spoken by the Mari people, most of whom live in the Mari El Republic and the Republic of Bashkortostan of the Russian Federation. The four main dialects of the Mari language are Hill Mari, Meadow Mari, Northwestern Mari and Eastern Mari. Meadow Mari and Hill Mari are the official languages of Mari El, alongside Russian.

For a long time, the Maris didn’t have a written language. Up until the 1930s, they used special pictograms called “tishte” to keep track of things like property and debts, but this could be hardly called writing.

In the mid-16th century, the Kazan Archbishop Gury attempted to create an alphabet for the Mari language in order to convert the Maris to Christianity. However, his alphabet wasn’t well-received and has not survived to this day. In the 18th century, Russian and European scholars recorded some texts in Mari using the Latin alphabet.

In 1775, the Kazan Archbishop Veniamin (Vasily Putsek-Grigorovich) published a book on the grammar of the Mari language, where he used the standard Russian alphabet with the addition of two special letters to write Mari words. This event marked the beginning of the history of the Mari alphabet.

In 1871 the Brotherhood of Saint Gury, which translated religious and educational literature into the languages of the ethnic minorities of the Russian Empire, published the first Hill Mari alphabet book. The first Meadow Mari alphabet book was published two years later. In these books, a few more letters were added to the Mari alphabet. The first fiction book in the Mari language was published in 1909.

After the Russian Revolution, linguists began to work on the standardization of the Mari language. Some linguists tried to develop a new Mari alphabet based on the Latin script, but in the end it was decided to keep the Cyrillic script.

The final versions of the Hill Mari and Meadow Mari alphabets and the spelling rules of the Mari language were approved in 1938, and the Northwestern Mari alphabet was created in 1995. The three alphabets use all the letters of the Russian alphabet; in addition, the Meadow Mari alphabet uses three additional letters, the Hill Mari alphabet uses four additional letters, and the Northwestern Mari alphabet uses seven additional letters.

Mary Alphabet Day is celebrated on December 10 to commemorate the publication anniversary of the first Mari grammar. It was established by the government of Mari El in 1990 and has been celebrated annually ever since. The holiday is marked with festivals, forums, exhibitions, round table discussions, seminars, performances, meeting with writers and linguists, contests, and other events focusing on the Mari writing, language and culture. They are organized by schools, universities, libraries and cultural institutions.

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Mari Alphabet Day, holidays in Russia, holidays in Mari El, cultural observances, Mari language