Esperanto Language Blog

Celebrate the New Year, Esperanto style! Posted by on Nov 20, 2010 in Events, JES

There is a long tradition of Esperanto New Years meetings in Germany since 1957 with the international youth meeting, Internacia Seminario (IS). After 20 years, some “older people” remembered the IS and wanted to relive the experience and started the Internacia Festivalo (IF) for families, older people and their children. In 2002, the IF started to get too full, so another Esperanto meeting for adults was founded: the Novjara Renkontiĝo.

In 2004, many young Eastern Europeans thought the IS was too expensive and wanted to make their alternative meeting called the Ago-Semajno (AS), so from 2004-2007, young Esperanto speakers had to choose between attending AS and IS. This caused somewhat of a split since Western Europeans tended to go to IS while Eastern Europeans tended to go to AS. It was then decided to combine these meetings in 2008 into the Junulara Esperanto Semajno (JES) which now happens every year in a different city in Poland or Germany.

Now in 2010, there’s even one more meeting in Herzberg, called SANO-1 which will focus on partying into the new year in a healthy way. Since this is a new meeting, there is not much yet known, except that they’re trying to attract Esperanto speakers to their city which is officially called The Esperanto City, because of its long-time Esperanto center and good relations with the city itself. When going there, you will even find many street signs printed bilingually in German and Esperanto. I’ll cover the phenomenon which is Herzberg in a future blog post.

So now that you’re thoroughly confused with all the different meetings, you’re probably wondering, which should you attend? If you’re young (under 30), I would personally recommend attending the JES which should have the youngest atmosphere and the longest running traditions.  If you’re older, then I’m really not sure which one to pick. If you’re looking for a smaller meeting or want to visit the Esperanto city, then SANO-1 would be for you. Otherwise I’d recommend either NR or IF, probably depending on which one more of your friends are attending… NR seems to have a bit younger audience, more middle-aged in comparison to the older crowd at IF.

Whichever you choose, I’m sure you’ll be able to attend lectures during the day, enjoy some great Esperanto music at the evening concerts and drink and dance the night away. Be ready to meet others from all over the world in a festive week of fun.  Here you’ll find people from all walks of life from garbage collectors to university professors, with everyone bringing with them their own unique perspective. Also, be sure to watch the international talent night, but the pinnacle of it all is the New Years Party, of course. So, apply to your meeting of choice today and get ready for a good time!

Update: Paul Peeraerts (an editor of Monato) just informed me on Facebook that my info about IF isn’t completely correct, which isn’t too surprising, since I’ve always attended IS and JES! The founders of IF did not “remember” the wonderful times of IS, but rather the IS and IF happened at the same time and place for several years. The participants could then freely choose between the youth program and the one for “older people”. Only later, when it was not possible to find larger venues, the events had to split and become separate events in different locations. Thanks Paul for the correction!

Keep learning Esperanto with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Chuck Smith

I was born in the US, but Esperanto has led me all over the world. I started teaching myself Esperanto on a whim in 2001, not knowing how it would change my life. The timing couldn’t have been better; around that same time I discovered Wikipedia in it’s very early stages and launched the Esperanto version. When I decided to backpack through Europe, I found Esperanto speakers to host me. These connections led me to the Esperanto Youth Organization in Rotterdam, where I worked for a year, using Esperanto as my primary language. Though in recent years I’ve moved on to other endeavors like iOS development, I remain deeply engrained in the Esperanto community, and love keeping you informed of the latest news. The best thing that came from learning Esperanto has been the opportunity to connect with fellow speakers around the globe, so feel free to join in the conversation with a comment! I am now the founder and CTO of the social app Amikumu.


  1. Betty Chatterjee:

    I’m going to spend New Year at the International Festival in Nördlingen. Judging by the programme it will be both enjoyable and educational. Thanks for writing such an interesting blog.

  2. chucksmith:

    Great to hear from you, Betty! I hope you really enjoy the IF. Also, thank you very much for the nice comment. As for the blog, I’m just getting started… lots of great stuff coming up in the next couple weeks! 🙂