No, not another April Fools' Day prank!
Other than the fun on this 1st day of April (actually, no one is quite sure of the origin of April Fools’ Day), there are in fact many other meaningful days people around the world observe in April. Most of us are aware that those of Christian faith reflect and celebrate Easter around this time of the year, but have you ever heard of the celebration for the UN Language Days? There are altogether six official languages used at the United Nations (UN): Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, and each is marked with a celebration day.
April 20th, the UN will celebrate the Chinese Language Day, and on 23rd April, the English Language Day. While the Chinese Language Day was chosen to pay tribute to the mythical four-eyes figure, presumed inventor of the Chinese characters – Cangjie (仓颉) some 5,000 years ago, the English Language Day was chosen to remember William Shakespeare, the famous english bard (on the day of his death and observed birthday).
Today, Chinese is spoken by almost 16% of the world’s population, and English is spoken by almost 20%, this means almost one in every three of us will be celebrating our language day this month. So if you speak one or both of these languages, let’s celebrate April with good and thoughtful communication!
Now, let’s have fun with April’s photo contest:
Where in the world was the above picture taken ?
Result of last month’s (March) photo contest:
The photo was taken at the Dali Theatre-Museum in the native town of the flamboyant Spanish artist Salvador Dali in Figueres, not far away from Barcelona.
To discover Barcelona, and Salvador Dali’s surrealism world or Antoni Gaudi’s eccentric world, you can click on these links:
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
In the month of April, what often comes to our minds are the funny pranks and laughters on April Fools Day, Easter (if it falls in April) for the Christians, and now that you know, perhaps the language days for the Chinese and English speakers. However, for the Japanese, it is definitely the Cherry blossom or the sakura season!
Starting in March, we can already see Cherry blossom featured on advertisements, special packaging editions, special food menus etc in Japan. This year, Starbuck, the American Coffee company even has a promotion on a cherry blossom tea in their sakura collection!
For the Japanese, the sakura season is more than commercial activities, it is part of a nation’s centuries-old traditions. “Hanami” (花見flower viewing) picnics in parks amongst seas of cherry blossom trees are enthusiastically celebrated by families, friends and workplace colleagues. (If you want to know more about the Cherry blossom season in Japan, watch this clip from NHK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3iAuSscETU).
I used to travel to Japan every two to three months, so I had the opportunities to experience this unique Japanese enthusiasm. Naively, I have therefore assumed “sakura-viewing” could only be enjoyed in Japan, until a friend told me she used to enjoy her spring walks amongst the cherry blossom trees in Ireland. Intrigued by what she shared, and after some research, I then realised there are indeed many places and parks all over the world where one could enjoy this beautiful flowering season.
Many of the trees at these places were gifts from the People of Japan to the People of the countries as a sign of friendship, Today, as our world spins around with challenges and conflicts, I hope a walk along the cherry blossom tress will remind us that by a simple gesture of friendship, what we assume can only exist in a country or for a particular culture can actually be enjoyed by many in other parts of the world. Life is transient and fragile, just like the beautiful sakura flowers, let’s share and enjoy the friendship we can build with others!
Celebrate the joy of sharing that will make our world a nicer place for all!
If you want to find out where you can enjoy “hanami” around the world, please click here: https://earthnworld.com/2017/11/top-10-places-to-see-cherry-blossoms-around-the-world/
To learn about other festivals around the world, you can also subscribe to TCG’s Youth’s Cross Cultural Competency course. https://www.transculturalgroup.com/youth-young-adults-pricing/