Chinese Language Day

Language Days at the United Nations seek to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization's six official languages.

Why April 20?

The date for the Chinese day was selected from Guyu ("Rain of Millet"), which is the 6th of 24 solar terms in the traditional East Asian calendars, to pay tribute to Cangjie. Cangjie is a very important figure in ancient China, claimed to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. Legend has it that he had four eyes and four pupils, and that when he invented the characters, the deities and ghosts cried and the sky rained millet. From then on, Chinese people celebrate the day Guyu in honour of Cangjie. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around April 20.

Chinese at the UN

Chinese was established as an official language of the United Nations in 1946. However, in early years, Chinese was not commonly used in the work of the United Nations. The situation was improved after restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971. In 1973, the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language, which was followed by the Security Council in 1974. More and more UN offices and staff members work with Chinese language.

Events at UNHQ

Sponsored by the Chinese Translation Service(DGACM) in association with UNSRC Chinese Book Club and the Chinese Language Programme, a series of events will be hosted on the UN Headquarters premises in New York to celebrate this year's Chinese Language Day, and the celebrations will be highted by

    • Chinese Language Day Opening Ceremony and Reception, April 18, 6:30-9:00pm
    • Calligraphy And Paintings By Female Artists From Jiangsu Province, China, April 15-19
    • The Chinese Learning Forum At The UN, April , 10:00am-5:00pm
    • Song of a Culture: The Beijing Opera, Lecture By Mr. Wang Ben, April 18, 12:00-2:00pm
    • Exhibition of “Modern Fashion Meets Traditional Chinese Opera", April 1-19, 5:10-6:30pm
    • An Exhibition In Celebration Of Chinese Language Day, April 18

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Events Around the World

In addition, the United Nations offices in Geneva, Bangkok, Nairobi, Vienna, as well as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the United Nations Abyei Interim Security Force will host exhibitions, lectures, online campaigns to mark the day.

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