Facts About International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day is a day celebrated globally on the 21st of February to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and to encourage people to embrace and preserve their mother languages. This day is observed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in recognition of the importance of mother languages in promoting peace, unity, and sustainable development.

The idea for International Mother Language Day was first proposed by the Bangladesh government in 1999, in honor of the Bengali language martyrs who lost their lives while demonstrating for the recognition of Bengali as an official language of Pakistan in 1952. The historic event, known as the Language Movement, sparked a fervent call for language rights and recognition for all indigenous languages. This movement led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the official languages of Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh after gaining independence.

Since its inception, International Mother Language Day has been celebrated in countries all over the world, with each country adding their own unique traditions and customs to the celebration. The theme for the day changes every year, and it is chosen based on its relevance and importance to the preservation and promotion of mother languages. Some of the previous themes have included “Unity in Diversity”, “Books for Mother Tongue Education”, and “Inclusion in and through Education”.

One of the main objectives of International Mother Language Day is to promote linguistic diversity and multiculturalism. According to UNESCO, there are approximately 6,700 spoken languages in the world, and at least half of these are at risk of disappearing due to globalization and the dominance of major languages. This day serves as a reminder to people that linguistic and cultural diversity should be celebrated and preserved, as it is a vital part of our identity and heritage.

One of the ways International Mother Language Day is commemorated is through the use of literature and poetry. In many countries, people gather to read and recite poems in their mother languages, showcasing the unique beauty and richness of each language. This not only promotes the continued use of mother languages but also fosters a sense of pride and appreciation for one’s own culture and heritage.

Another way in which this day is celebrated is through cultural and educational events. Schools and universities organize activities such as debates, quizzes, and performances that highlight the importance of mother languages and their impact on society. These events also serve as platforms for students to learn about different languages and cultures, promoting understanding and mutual respect.

Furthermore, International Mother Language Day also serves as a time to recognize the role of mother languages in sustainable development. Mother languages are not just a means of communication, they also hold vast knowledge, traditions, and practices that contribute to the development of societies. By preserving and promoting mother languages, we also preserve and promote sustainable development, as these languages hold valuable knowledge about our environment, history, and culture.

Moreover, this day also serves to bring attention to issues of linguistic discrimination and marginalization. Minority and indigenous languages are often overlooked and undervalued, leading to the loss of linguistic and cultural diversity. International Mother Language Day reminds us to not only recognize the importance of all languages but also to take steps towards promoting and protecting these languages and the communities that speak them.

One such step is the adoption of the International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2019 by the United Nations. This initiative aims to raise awareness and support for indigenous languages, as well as to develop strategies for their revitalization and preservation.

In conclusion, International Mother Language Day is an important day that sheds light on the significance of mother languages in our lives. It serves as a reminder that all languages are valuable and should be embraced, preserved, and celebrated. This day also highlights the need for promoting linguistic diversity and the role of mother languages in sustainable development. So let us all come together on 21st February to celebrate our mother languages and to promote a world where every language is valued and respected.