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Francophonie Day – March 20, 2023

Francophonie Day is observed by the International Organization of La Francophonie on March 20 every year to celebrate the French language and Francophone culture. It is celebrated in commemoration of the 1970 Niamey Convention, where French-speaking states signed to align their mutual interest. On this day, the 220 million francophones, across five different continents, celebrate their language and celebrate the diversity and love for the French language. The Francophonie day celebrations take form in the presentation of plays, poetry reading, and art exhibitions, among others. The beauty of language is that as we learn it, we too are part of its evolution because language can change and adapt. The learning of language is neatly intertwined with its evolution. The French are proud of International Francophonie Day, proud to celebrate their language, and what it has become, and proud of those who can speak it. If you are part of the French-speaking region or you aspire to learn this beautiful and significant language, then this day is for you.

History of Francophonie Day

The International Day of Francophonie is celebrated on March 20. It is a day to celebrate the French language and Canada’s rich French heritage and culture. Created in 1988, the day celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on March 20, 1970. This convention was the rise of Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique (A.C.C.T.) in Niamey, which is now known as the International Organization of La Francophonie. The term ‘Francophonie’ meaning ‘French-speaking,’ was first used at the end of the 19th century. A French geographer, Onesime Reclus used the term to refer to all French-speaking people and countries. Recently, there was a change, the meaning has been differentiated. Francophonie spelled with a capital F refers to French-speaking countries and Francophonie with a lowercase f for that of French-speaking people.

The concept of it is so interesting, each country has its own unique play or development of the Francophone. For example, the Quebec region of Canada is a completely different Francophone environment and you would not find anyone around here who speaks English. The Metropolitan French, having evolved directly from its European roots, does not have the same pronunciation as the Canadian French. The Canadian French has been influenced a lot over time by factors such as that of the British and the nearby U.S. Like British and American English, there are different intonations and different words in the Metropolitan and Canadian French yet the same grammar rules in its written form.

The U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), established the U.N. French Language Day to join in raising awareness about the value of French and other languages like it and also in furthering the U.N’s work. Today, this important occasion celebrates the significance of French in helping diverse people come together toward global peace, understanding, and respect between cultures and the organization continues to push toward the unique value of the linguistic and humanist French language across the globe.

Francophonie Day timeline

1880
The Term ‘Francophonie’

In 1880, the French geographer, Onesime Reclus first uses the term to describe French-speaking countries and people.

1989
Cleared Debts

During the Dakar Summit in May 1989, President Francois Mitterrand announces the cancellation of the debt of 35 African countries to France.

2010
UNESCO Raises Support

The U.N. establishes the French Language Day on the same date to join in raising awareness about the value of French.

2020
O.I.F. Marks its 50th Anniversary

Canada joins the International Organization of La Francophonie to mark its 50th anniversary.

Francophonie Day FAQs

How many colors are on the Francophone Flag?

Six colors are on the flag. White, red, blue, yellow, green, and violet.

How many countries are Francophone?

29 countries are Francophone.

Why do we celebrate Francophonie Day?

Celebrating this day is recognizing the potential of the language and culture to unite people, and create space for mutual solidarity and mutual understanding.

Francophonie Day Activities

  1. Act in a play with your friends

    Performing a play during Francophonie day is a good way to celebrate. Gather some of your friends, come up with a good story and act out an interesting play to entertain the people around you and spread excitement on this beautiful day.

  2. Involve poetry

    Writing a poem on this day is a good way to show your love, respect, and value for Francophones. Write a poem describing the beauty of Francophone people and the celebrations and read it to your family and friends. This can be a reminder to them of how much beauty the people and celebration still hold and help them look forward to coming celebrations.

  3. Go to art exhibitions

    Creating artwork during the Francophonie celebrations is another way to spread beauty and interest. You can display your artwork during the events or parties hosted during Francophonie Day.

5 Interesting Facts About Francophonie Day

  1. Change of name

    The International Organization La Francophonie was first called Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique (A.C.C.T.).

  2. The Francophonie Flag

    The flag of the International Organization of Francophone is white with an emblem made of five segments of a circle, red, blue, yellow, green, and violet, which symbolize the five continents.

  3. Birth of International Organization of Francophone

    The Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (AC.C.T.) which gave birth to the International Organization of Francophone, was born on March 20, 1970.

  4. Many countries take part

    There are 29 Francophone countries.

  5. It is so much fun

    The celebration can take form in the presentation of plays, poetry reading, art exhibitions, film, and food festivals.

Why We Love Francophonie Day

  1. It is a time to have fun

    The celebration gives people time away from other things and focuses on having fun and celebrating the French language. We love this!

  2. It is a time to make new friends

    During the celebrations on Francophone Day, you get to meet other Francophones who you celebrate with and also find new friends. Go on, make a new friend today!

  3. It is an opportunity to get creative

    The Francophone Day allows you to show your creative skills. You can decide to perform a song, act out a play, or display your artwork during events on this day.

Francophonie Day dates

YearDateDay
2023March 20Monday
2024March 20Wednesday
2025March 20Thursday
2026March 20Friday
2027March 20Saturday

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