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Chinese Language Day

Chinese Language Day, April 20

Chinese Language Day is today, April 20.  In 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (UNESCO) recognized six languages as official languages of the UN. Logically, they are the six most spoken languages in the world. Chinese is one of these six languages. In recognition and celebration of these languages, each language was given a special holiday. In each case, the date was carefully selected to honor someone an organization or event important to the people  who speak the language.


The goals of Chinese Language Day, is to celebrate multi-lingual and cultural diversity, and to recognize and celebrate Chinese as one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The date of this special holiday also pays tribute to Cang Jie, a legendary figure who invented Chinese characters over 5,000 years ago.

Did You Know? Chinese is the native language of over 1 billion people.

There are over 200 Chinese dialects. Many of them are so diverse, that they could be considered their own language group. For example, if you spoke Cantonese to someone who speaks Shanainese, they would recognize some words. But they'd have trouble understanding each other. The most common Chinese language is Mandarin, which is the official language (or dialect) of the People's Republic of China. It is also widely spoken in Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. After Mandarin, the most commonly spoken Chinese languages, or dialects, are: Wu, Shanghainese, Hongkongese, and Cantonese.

Chiniese Language Day, April 20


UNESCO Language Days

The six language days established by UNESCO are:

Language: Celebrated On: Comment:
Arabic December 18 On December 18, 1973, the UN General Assembly adopted Arabic as the sixth official UN language.
Chinese April 20 This date pays tribute to Cang Jie, a legendary figure who invented Chinese characters over 5,000 years ago.
English April 23 Both the birth and death date of William Shakespeare
French March 20 Commemorates the founding anniversary of the Organisation international de la Francophonie.
Russian June 6 Honors the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, the father of Russian literature.
Spanish April 23 Honors Spanish novelist, poet and playwright Don Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, died on April 23.

More Information:

More on Chinese Language Day

China Holidays and Festivals provides a good description and dates for each of these events.

About Chinese New Years

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