University students show love and appreciation for their native language
By Tatiana Grigorieva
“Our literature boasts many names of which the whole world is proud. We should take care of our language, at the very least as a sign of respect,” he asserted, calling upon everyone to try to speak Belarusian more frequently. “The preservation of our traditions depends solely on us,” he added.
The tradition of celebrating Mother Language Day appeared at the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts long ago. With each year, this holiday grows more popular and its scale expands. This time, guests were offered contemporary batleika (puppet theatre) and interesting quizzes. There was even a performance by the Choreography Chair ensemble — a laureate of international and Republican contests and festivals; the group receives a special scholarship from the Special Fund of the President of Belarus for Support of the Talented Youth. Gramnitsy folk band also performed, alongside the winners of a contest to create the best poem and song in our native language, recently hosted by the university.
Traditional Belarusian dishes, prepared by university students and teachers, were available for tasting and guests could learn the pas d’Espagne — an almost forgotten dance.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999, aiming to promote and preserve the world’s cultural and language wealth; in fact, half of its existing 6,000 languages are under threat. February 21st was chosen for the date as, in 1952, five students were killed during a demonstration calling for Bengali to be an official language of Pakistan; its eastern part later became the independent state of Bangladesh.