Ας μιλήσουμε Ελληνικά! This February 9, join in this initiative designed to spread Greek language and culture around the world.
International Greek Language Day
Following years of pressure by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, plus Diaspora Greek schools and organizations, including the Hellenic American Leadership Council and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, February 9 has been designated as International Greek Language Day. Resolution No.17889 (Official Gazette B’ 1384 from 24.04.2017) came through a joint decision of the Greek Minister of Internal Affairs; the Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs; and of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This celebration coincides with a holiday honoring Greek poet Dionysios Solomos, best known for penning “Hymn to Liberty”, which became Greece’s national anthem. Considered the national poet of Greece, Solomos was born in Zakynthos on April 8, 1798 and passed away on February 9, 1857.
The organizing departments of the Greek government are creating events, and hope to spur the development of international events to coincide with the event each year. The day provides many opportunities to celebrate and share Greek language and culture.
Let’s create some events
Chicago Consul General Polyxeni Petropoulou issued a statement, heralding the event and urging Diaspora Greeks to begin coordinating events and initiatives to promote this date each year.
“Given that the February 9, 2018 is the first implementation of the International Greek Language Day, as requested by the Diaspora organizations, especially chairs and departments of Greek Studies and other institutions of learning the Greek language, we urge you to organize events for International Greek Language Day, and invite members of the Diaspora, plus U.S. officials, local officials, and friends. Starting from 2018, let us all try to project the Greek language initiatives and events that will introduce to the world February 9 as the Day of the Greek Language.”
In the spirit of the day here’s, her message in Greek.
“Λαμβανομένου υπόψη ότι η 9η Φεβρουαρίου 2018 είναι η πρώτη φορά υλοποίησης της Παγκόσμιας Ημέρας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας, παρακαλούνται οι ομογενειακές οργανώσεις και, ιδίως Έδρες και Τμήματα Eλληνικών σπουδών και άλλοι φορείς εκμάθησης της Ελληνικής γλώσσας, να διοργανώσουν, στο πλαίσιο αυτό, εκδηλώσεις προβολής της Παγκόσμιας Ημέρας Ελληνικής γλώσσας, στις οποίες θα ήταν σκόπιμο να προσκληθούν τόσο μέλη της Ομογένειας, όσο και Αμερικανοί αξιωματούχοι, τοπικοί άρχοντες και φίλοι.
Αρχίζοντας από το 2018, ας προσπαθήσουμε όλοι μας να προβάλλουμε την Ελληνική γλώσσα με πρωτοβουλίες και εκδηλώσεις οι οποίες θα καθιερώσουν την 9η Φεβρουαρίου παγκοσμίως ως Ημέρα της Ελληνικής Γλώσσας.”
Since the declaration was announced only a short time ago, we’re not aware of any events in the Chicago area to coincide with this event. If you know of any, do let us know. Let’s get planning for next year!
Never fear! There are lots of ways to celebrate the Greek language and culture in your own home. Here are some ideas:
- Speak more Greek at home
- Introduce your friends to Greek culture and traditions
- Invite non-Greek friends to partake in a uniquely Greek celebration
- Enroll your child in Greek school — better yet, a Greek Orthodox Parochial School! (Check our School Directory for Chicago area schools).
- Sign up for an adult Greek language class (If you’re in the Chicago area, check out one by our partners & friends, Institute of Greek Language & Culture)
- Attend more Greek events
- Play Greek music
- Dance Greek
- Cook Greek food
- Book a trip to Greece
Enhance Greek language learning at home
Check out these resources we’ve discovered (meant to enhance learning and not to take the place of in-person Greek language classes)
Epikon Games: Games designed to “transform Modern Greek language learning from traditional teaching methods to an engaging and successful experience through gaming technology”
Ellinopoula: Greek Language educational games, videos and quizzes for children
Greek Language Online: Educational activities in Greek to help students struggling with Greek or those who wish to be challenged further
Gus on the Go: Apps to help learn Greek
Duolingo: Language learning app
Ας μιλήσουμε Ελληνικά! ΠΑΜΕ!