World Poetry Day – March 21st

World Poetry Day – March 21st

World Poetry Day is a United Nations celebration on March 21st. The day was adopted by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1999 with the main objective “To support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.”

World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Poetry contributes to creative diversity, by questioning anew our use of words and things, our modes of perception and understanding of the world.

Through its associations, its metaphors and its own grammar, poetic language is thus conceivably another facet of the dialogue among cultures. Diversity in dialogue, free flow of ideas by word, creativity, and innovation. World Poetry Day is an invitation to reflect on the power of language and the full development of each person’s creative abilities.

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular”. –Aristotle

History

Every year on 21st March UNESCO celebrates World Poetry Day. A decision to proclaim 21st March as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999. The main purpose of celebrating this day was to promote reading, writing, publishing, and teaching poetry throughout the world.

The original UNESCO declaration says, to “give fresh recognization and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements.” Many counties have kept the tradition of celebrating their national or international poetry day coinciding with the birthday of an ancient Roman poet named ‘Publius Vergilius Maro’ a.k.a Virgil on 15th October.

UNESCO encourages the Member States to take an active part in celebrating World Poetry Day, at both local and national level, with the active participation of National Commissions, NGOs, and the public and private institutions concerned (schools, municipalities, poetic communities, museums, cultural associations, publishing houses, local authorities, etc.)

Objective

Poetry speaks for all and touches our hearts. One of the main objectives of the day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities. This is a day to encourage people to read, write, teach, and publish poetry and to recognize the great cultural contribution poetry makes to human society.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity.

Significance

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. The main significance of celebrating this day is to use a poetic expression to support linguistic diversity, particularly providing opportunities for languages that may be endangered, to be heard.

World Poetry Day is also an occasion to honor poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry, and foster the convergence between poetry and other arts in the media.

World Poetry Day serves as a reminder and celebration of the way that artistic expression can bind us all together as a collective humanity. Poetry is a celebration of the languages that bind us, as well as an affirmation of shared human experience and empathy. Take some time today to reacquaint yourself with some of your favorite poems and share them with the people you care about or expand your horizons by going out to a local poetry reading.

How is world Poetry Day celebrated?

On World Poetry Day, poets from across the world share their views, knowledge, and works. Poetic events are organized, specific to a culture in which notable poets of that particular culture or language elaborate their work and express their views. Many government agencies, non-government organizations, members of civil society, poets, literature laureates, communities come forward to celebrate poetry.

Schools and colleges around the world organize programs to let the students acknowledge the role of poetry in bridging cultural gaps and also to admire various poets and their efforts to keep the culture and languages alive through poetry. Special lectures and sessions are held for children to teach them about different forms of poetry and also get to know different poets. Many poetry competitions are held in schools and universities where children participate and bring creative art of poems.

Poets are invited for talks and conferences are held at a variety of places like – cafeterias, colleges, schools, auditoriums, and stadiums, etc. Poets even from across the borders are cordially invited to enrich people about their own books and also to express their views.

Awards are conferred to those who have contributed commendably in the field of poetry. Exhibitions are also organized at various locations, displaying the works by various national poets as well as poets from across the border.

How to get involved in the celebration

  • Spread awareness about poetry and its various advantages from bringing communities closer to preserving culture and languages.

  • Attend an event organized near you to celebrate the day and listen to what poets have to say about their works, cultures, etc.

  • There are many poetry exhibitions held visit them to get yourself aware of the work of poets from across the world and make you admire their work and efforts.

  • Send emails to your friends and family with your favorite poems. You could even personalize the messages so each person receives a different poem based on what you think they might like/your relationship with them.

  • Print out and display poems freely wherever you are. Pin a poem to your school/work bulletin board. Leave poems printed off wherever you go: the cafe, the library, your friend’s house.

  • Put your favorite poems up on social media. Don’t feel embarrassed about this. Most people will appreciate getting a lovely poem sent to them by someone they care about.

  • Donate funds for a poet or publishing house that is struggling for unavailability of funds. Donating for poetry is like donating to save your own culture and language and ensuring their longevity.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.