Chuvash Language Day Date in the current year: April 25, 2022

Chuvash Language Day Chuvash Language Day is celebrated annually on April 25 in the Chuvash Republic in the Russian Federation. It was established by the State Council of the Chuvash Republic in 1992 to emphasize the uniqueness of the Chuvash language, as well as to raise awareness of its endangered status.

Chuvash is the most distinctive Turkic language, being not mutually intelligible with other Turkic languages. It is the only extant member of the Oghur language branch of the Turkic family; all other languages of the branch (Bulgar, Khazar, Hunnic, Tuoba, Avar) are extinct. According to some scholars, Chuvash is so different from other Turkic languages due to having been influenced by other language groups and families (Finno-Ugric, Iranian, Mongolic, Slavic) throughout its history.

The Chuvash language developed from the dialects of the Middle Bulgar language in the 15th century, and the formation of modern Chuvash language and literature began in the 1870s. This became possible thanks to the emergence of the Chuvash alphabet, because before that, Chuvash had been the language of everyday communication and oral tradition.

The Chuvash alphabet was devised by Ivan Yakovlev, a renowned Chuvash educator and writer. He was born on April 25, 1848, in the village of Koshki-Novotimbayevo in Simbirsk Governorate (present-day Tatarstan). He became invested in the idea of enlightening the Chuvash people at an early age and realized that he needed university education for that.

In 1870, Yakovlev entered the Kazan University, where he met Nikolay Ilminsky, a renowned Russian turkologist. Ilminsky helped Yakovlev develop the first version of the Chuvash alphabet, based on the Cyrillic script. In 1872, Yakovlev self-published the first Chuvash alphabet book. While studying at the university, Yakovlev privately tutored Chuvash children; after graduation, he worked as a school inspector and founded the famous Simbirsk Chuvash School for Teachers.

Today, the Chuvash language is one of the biggest minority languages in the Russian Federation. It is spoken by over a million people in Chuvashia (where it is the second official language alongside Russian) and some other regions, including Barshkortostan, Tatarstan, Samara Oblast, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Saratov Oblast, Penza Oblast, and other areas of Ural, the Volga Region, and Siberia.

Despite a relatively significant number of speakers, Chuvash is classified as an endangered language by UNESCO. It is listed as vulnerable in the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger, which means that most Chuvash children speak the language, but its use is restricted to certain domains, such as home.

Chuvash Language Day was established following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in order to raise awareness of the importance of revitalizing the Chuvash language. Ivan Yakovlev’s birthday was chosen as the date of the holiday to emphasize his contribution to the development of the modern Chuvash language.

Chuvash Language Day is celebrated primarily in Chuvash schools and universities with seminars, lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and other events focusing on the Chuvash language, literature, and culture.

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Category

Cultural Observances

Country

Russia

Tags

Chuvash Language Day, holidays in Russia, holidays in Chuvashia, cultural observances, Ivan Yakovlev