14 March 2017

Mother Tongue Day

Today we celebrate Mother Tongue Day in Estonia, which is a national holiday. It has been celebrated since 1996. But why is it on 14th of March? This date was chosen, because Kristjan Jaak Peterson, who was an estonian writer, was born on 14th March in 1801. Besides his contribution to Estonia´s literature and belief in Estonians and Estonian language´s future, he is also known for the fact he sometimes walked from Riga to Tartu (over 200 kms). His parents had moved to Riga, but he studied religion and philosophy in the University of Tartu. He died at a very young age in 1822.
On Mother Tongue Day all people, who speak Estonian (and even the ones that do not) can take part of an e-dictation that takes place every year. In the morning, at 10.30 a short text is being read out on the radio and people write down what they hear. It may sound easy, but believe me, it is not as obviously people have chosen to use some tricky words and phrases. 
I could not participate this year, but kind of took part of it last year - when we all wrote as much as we could on paper while listening to the radio all together in the classroom. It should be done on computer instead of writing on a paper as text is being read rather quickly. Anyway, a good opportunity to challenge yourself and see, how well you can do it and see, what are the most challenging parts of your mother tongue. And best ones win prizes as well!
I also found an interesting article for foreigners, but why not for all Estonians to read as well. You can find it by clicking here and read (in English) about interesting words we have in our language :)
Is Mother Tongue Day or some similar holiday celebrated in your country? If yes, then how?

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