Esperanto Day Date in the current year: July 26, 2024

Esperanto Day Esperanto Day (Esperanto-Tago) is observed every July 26 to celebrate the Esperanto language, its creator L. L. Zamenhof, and the first book about Esperanto. The World Esperanto Congress is typically held around this day.

Esperanto is the most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language in the world. In contrast to lingua francas (natural languages that are widely used for international communication such as English, Spanish or French), Esperanto was specifically created to break down language barriers and make human communication easier.

The world’s first modern constructed language that made an international impact was Volapük, created in 1879–1880 by German Catholic priest Johann Martin Schleyer. However, it soon fell into obscurity due to controversies between Schleyer and his followers, giving way to Esperanto.

The Esperanto language was developed by Jewish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof who lived for most of his life in Warsaw. Zamenhof was a polyglot who spoke Yiddish, Russian, Belarusian, Polish, German, and some English and Italian. He also studied classical languages such as Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

Growing up in a multi-ethnic city of Białystok, Zamenhof was frustrated by quarrels between various ethnic groups. He believed that a lack of mutual understanding was one of the main reasons for these quarrels, and thought that a common language would help solve the problem. Zamenhof began working on the creation of an international auxiliary language as a teenager and doubled his efforts after the success of Volapük.

Zamenhof first introduced and described Esperanto in his book entitled Dr. Esperanto’s International Language, which is commonly referred to in the Esperanto community as Unua Libra (First Book). Published on July 26, 1887, the book gave rise to the Esperanto movement that soon spread across Europe and beyond.

Zamenhof originally intended to name the new language “Linvgo internacia” (international language). However, learners began to call it Esperanto after Zamenhof’s pen name Doktoro Esperanto (Doctor Hoper), and Zamenhof decided to officially name it so.

Although Esperanto hasn’t become a universal language for international communication as Zamenhof hoped, it is the most successful constructed international auxiliary language, as well as the only constructed language to have a significant number of native speakers. According to estimates, between several hundred and 2,000 people speak Esperanto as their native language (all of them are bilingual), and around 100,000 people speak it as the second language.

The Esperanto community celebrates the publication anniversary of Unia Libro as Esperanto Day. As a rule, the annual World Esperanto Congress established in 1905 is held during the last week of July, which includes Esperanto Day.

Another observance that is occasionally referred to as Esperanto Day is Zamenhof Day, also called Esperanto Book Day or Esperanto Literature Day. Celebrated even more widely than Esperanto Day, it commemorates the birthday of L. L. Zamenhof.

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Esperanto Day, international observances, cultural observances, Esperanto language, Dr Zamenhof, Unua Libra