Are you ready for grain to rain down upon the earth tomorrow? In all likelihood, that won’t happen to us, but that is what the ancient Chinese legend says happened when mythical figure, Cangjie, invented Chinese characters in 2,650 BC. Regardless of how the Chinese language was invented, it has been used for thousands of years and more than 1.3 billion people speak Chinese as their first language today. That’s around one-fifth of the entire world!
To honor this lovely language and the billions that speak it, tomorrow, April 20th, marks the celebration of Chinese Language Day. Here’s a brief timeline of how this celebration came about:
- 1911: China adopted Mandarin as national language.
- 1946: UN established Chinese as an official language
- 1973: UN General Assembly adopted Chinese
- 2010: UNESCO (part of the United Nations) first created Chinese Language Day
“So,” you may be asking, “how exactly should I go about celebrating Chinese Language Day?” Glad you asked! We have a few simple ideas that you can prepare and implement for tomorrow’s celebration:
Learn a Few Chinese Words
To say, “Thank you” you say, “xiexie.” It is pronounced, “she-ye she-ye”. To say, “Hello,” you say, “nǐ hǎo,” which is pronounced like “nee-how.” If you want to hear it spoken out loud, we suggest you use an online translator app (such as Google translate) and utilize the audio option.
Visit a Chinese restaurant
No, Panda Express does not count. To get a taste for the Chinese culture, we suggest you visit an authentic Chinese restaurant and order a traditional dish, such as Peking duck (royal dish in medieval China), Kung Pao Chicken (diced chicken, dried chili, cucumber, and fried peanuts), or Hot Pot (simmering pot of soup broth in a pot in the middle of the dining table with foodstuffs and condiments to be cooked in the broth). With such a variety of delicious food, we’re sure you’ll find something you like.
Watch a Chinese Movie
Not only will you get to experience the Chinese language in its full glory, but you will be sucked into another world for an hour or two. Chinese movies are famous for the action and adventure genres, such as ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000),’ and ‘Ip Man (2008)’. If Romance is more your style, try ‘In the Mood for Love (2000),’ or if you like to laugh, check out ‘The Farewell (I) (2019).’ Here is a link to IMDB’s top 100 Chinese movies: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls064849128/.
All in all, we hope this blog article encourages you to take a moment tomorrow to explore and experience the Chinese language and culture. Who knows? Maybe it will be the first step to you joining 1.3 billion people around the world and becoming fluent in Chinese.