Each May, we celebrate some important holidays that often go overlooked. Of course, you might not have heard of these special days, but they are quite important within the language and cultural industry. Teachers and interpreters are important parts of our daily life. Without them, we would not be able to communicate across borders. There are many more days during the year and we will try to update this post with a selection of them.
National Interpreter Appreciation Day, National Teacher Appreciation Day, and World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development all fall within the month of May. As with any celebration, it is important to understand the origins of these days. Why and how did they come to be? What exactly are we celebrating when we observe these days?
National Teacher Appreciation Day
National Teacher Appreciation Day takes place every year on Tuesday of the first full week of May.
The National Teacher Appreciation Day is “the day of honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives”. Though many countries around the world recognized a day for teachers as early as the 19th century, the US did not acknowledge the idea until later. Many American teachers pushed to have a day of recognition like their global counterparts. At last, in 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt convinced congress to allocate a day to celebrate educators and the valuable work they do.
Thanks to Eleanor Roosevelt’s support, people began to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day and it started to grow in popularity. Eventually, the National Education Association (NEA), along with a few other organizations, lobbied to Congress and succeeded at making it a National day on March 7, 1980.
The National Day of Recognition of Teachers continued in March until 1984. After that, the National Parent Teacher Association appropriated the first full week of May as Teacher Appreciation Week; the Tuesday of which National Teacher Appreciation Day falls on. Shortly after National Teacher Appreciation Day comes National Interpreter Appreciation Day.
National Interpreter Appreciation Day
Every year, National Interpreter Appreciation Day takes place on the first Wednesday of May. Originally, the holiday had its origin in recognizing sign language interpreters, but it has since evolved. Now we consider this holiday the best opportunity to recognize the work of all interpreters, regardless of language.
Interpreters facilitate communication between two parties who otherwise would not be able to communicate due to the language barrier. Interpreters play many important roles in many situations – medical, political, entertainment, and more. National Interpreter Appreciation Day is a day to recognize the impact they make on our communities and the world. Furthermore, interpreting is an excellent way to bridge different cultures and promote cultural diversity.
World Portuguese Language Day
This day was established on October 17, 2019 at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. UNESCO’s executive board meeting approved the initiative.
“This is the first time UNESCO has made such a decision on a language that is not one of the official languages of UNESCO”. Said diplomat António Sampaio da Nóvoa.
Portuguese-speaking countries introduced the unanimously approved proposal. The initiative received support from countries such as Argentina, Chile, Georgia, Luxembourg or Uruguay.
African World Heritage Day
The 38th session of the General Conference of UNESCO back in November 2015 proclaimed the African World Heritage day to be held on the 5th of May each year. It is an opportunity for world citizens; especially those from the African Continent, to celebrate Africa’s unique natural and cultural legacy.
The World Heritage List only has 12% of African possessions listed. However, a high percentage (39%) of those possessions are in danger due to contemporaneous threats. Climate change, uncontrolled development, poaching, civil unrest and instability are risking many of Africa’s wonders to lose their outstanding universal value. Therefore, it was clearly urgent for the UNESCO to ensure the protection and preservation of this irreplaceable legacy for our future generations.
Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (Diversity Day)
The UN established World Cultural Diversity Day in order to teach people to understand the values of cultural diversity. At its core, they intended it to help people learn how to live with others without problems.
Inspired by an idea for cultural harmony, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) made a Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001. They stressed the importance that mutual cultural understanding has on world peace, stability, and development. After that, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21st Diversity Day. In fact, the UN holds that cultural diversity is necessary for the world to grow sustainably. Cultural Diversity Day is truly an important day!
Now that you know a little more about these holidays; we hope you will join Global Arena in celebrating each year!