Happy Zamenhof Day! Posted by Chuck Smith on Dec 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
Some may argue that Esperanto doesn’t have a culture, because there aren’t paintings, sculptures, holidays, etc. But wait, there is a holiday! Well, December 15 is celebrated the world over as Zamenhof Day, because that is the birthday of the initiator of Esperanto: L. L. Zamenhof. Some people have wanted to change the name to the Day of the Esperanto Book, since they feel that Zamenhof’s role in Esperanto is overemphasized and can seem cultish to “outsiders.”
Most clubs will have their largest party of the year around Zamenhof Day. In Berlin, people come from nearby cities to enjoy a complete weekend of festivities. There you can see films with Esperanto subtitles, hear lectures and also concerts. On Saturday, there will be a walk through the city. The best part of the entire time though is seeing people you haven’t seen for a long time. That’s why this year there will be two locations… one for the program and one area just to chat with friends. Last year around 100 people attended the Zamenhof party here.
But, what if you don’t live in a big city?! Well, some people celebrate it with others on Twitter or Facebook. There is the Worldwide Twitter Action for Esperanto which is an attempt to make Esperanto a trending topic on Twitter… basically tweet anything in or about Esperanto and add #Esperanto to your tweet! If you’re not feeling creative, the group even made a page of sample tweets! Read more details in Esperanto on Libera Folio. On Facebook, you can find the Hug an Esperanto Speaker Day which is yet another fun way to celebrate the day.
Who knows what could happen? Last year, Google even published a Google doodle with the Esperanto flag. That started as an Esperanto-USA campaign by American Esperanto speaker, Tim Westover to write Google. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first, but very pleasantly surprised when I first saw it appearing on google.co.jp (considering time zones start over there first)! Then it was a nice experience as hour after hour we saw it on other national sites. As I once heard, “There has probably never ever been a day in history where so many people saw the Esperanto flag.” Most Esperanto sites reported getting around seven times their normal amount of traffic.
Anyway, if you’re alone and don’t feel like celebrating online, you could take this day to catch up with an Esperanto friend around the world you haven’t heard from in a while. Or you could grab that Esperanto book off your shelf which you keep meaning to read. No matter where you are, you can surely find some way to remember how Esperanto has opened your world’s horizons and the new experiences it’s given you. In any case, I wish you Ĝojan Zamenhoftagon! (Happy Zamenhof Day!)
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