May 5th was the date chosen at the 40th UNESCO General Conference to celebrate the language and culture of countries that have Portuguese as their official language. Therefore, on that day, the cinema, literature and music of these countries are also honored, as they are responsible for the preservation of the language, in addition to making it cross linguistic and cultural boundaries.
On that day, all countries are invited to carry out activities that celebrate this language, which can range from showing films to holding debates on the language, which has already been honored by writers such as Olavo Bilac and Clarice Lispector.
The Origin of World Portuguese Language Day
On November 25, 2009, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at its 40th General Conference, proclaimed May 5th as World Portuguese Language Day. According to the “Minutes of the conference” | 1 |, the choice of a day to commemorate the Portuguese language is justified by the “contribution of the Portuguese language in the preservation and diffusion of human civilization and culture”.
For this decision, was taken in consideration also the fact that:
- “Portuguese is the language of nine UNESCO Member States”,
- “Is the official language of three continental organizations and the UNESCO General Conference”,
- “Is spoken by over 265 million people”, in addition to being
- “The most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere”.
Still, the choice of a day to honor the Portuguese language every year was also due to the “need to establish broader cooperation between peoples through multilingualism, cultural approximation and dialogue between civilizations”.
And also to the “2009 resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), which established May 5 as the Portuguese Language and Culture Day at CPLP”, and to the “guarantees offered by States that have the Portuguese as an official language, in relation to the safeguarding, conservation and celebration of that language, as well as its active commitment in favor of promoting a world day of the Portuguese language and participating in it ”.
Thus, it is the function of the Directorate-General of UNESCO to promote “the celebration of the World Day of the Portuguese Language” and to encourage “the Member States, especially those of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), and other interested parties to participate in this celebration in the way that each one considers most appropriate ”.