Curiosities of the international days

Castellano Català

January, we inaugurate new year and calendar of international days. The first, the annual International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust (27 January 1945), recalls the time Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.

For all lovers of national-socialism times, I just want to remind you that on 1st January this year the copyright of the famous Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf owned by the state of Bavaria expired, and thus after 70 years of prohibition in Germany it is available again on a carefully prepared version by the German Institute for Contemporary History (Institut für Zeitgeschichte or IFZ). [1]

Proceeding with February, a month probably more known mainly for the International Day of cancer (4th), we find the international Day of Radio (13th) and the International Mother Language Day (21). The first commemorates the day that the radio station of the United Nations was inaugurated in 1946 [2]. Nowadays it is still broadcasting today UN-related news!

The International Mother Language Day recalls the events occurred in Bangladesh in 1952 when police and the Pakistani army opened fire on the crowd of Bengali-speaking protesters who were demonstrating for their language rights in Dhaka (Bangladesh, then occupied by Pakistan). This incident was one of the main causes that triggered the creation of the state of Bangladesh.

After two months remembering and commemorating dark moments of human history and taking advantage of the fact that spring does not look so far away, it seems that the guys of the UN decided to celebrate more abstract concepts and nature related. Did you know for example that there is a global day of happiness? Yes and it is on March 20th at the initiative of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

We also find international days of nature, women, forests (wasn’t it enough with nature? Was it a too generic concept?), water, the feast of Nowruz [3] that commemorates the beginning of spring in various cultures and the international day of meteorology. March also brings us pearls such as the international day of the French language (20th)! or the International Day of the right to truth regarding gross violations of human rights and dignity of the victims, title that remains me of some studies that Governments request to consulting companies.

April comes with other international days of languages: Chinese (19th) and English (23th) together with a specific day to reflect on the genocide in Rwanda (explicitly international day of reflection on the genocide perpetrated in Rwanda) and the International Jazz Day ( 30th).

Clearly we can not forget the International Day of migratory birds (9 -10th May) and the international day for the eradication of Obstetric Fistula (May 23th), [4] that for the non initiated, it consists of an abnormal opening between the vagina and bladder or rectum as a result of extreme pressure during childbirth, which prevents the fetus out through the pelvis of the mother and in case of not being able to perform a caesarean section may cause the baby’s death and create an uncontrolled transport channel from urine and feces into the vagina.


We are in the middle of the year and it is finally time to honor widows (June 23th) while we prepare the festival of Saint John, without forgetting to celebrate the International Day of Yoga (June 21th). Completely immersed in the summer, we interact more with the world and it is perfect time to celebrate Friendship international Day (July 30th), originally from Paraguay and related to various festivals from Latin America, and also the World Day of Cooperatives (first Saturday of July) .

So many anti-nuclear social movements have had an effect on the UN: two specific international days talk about this energy: the international day against nuclear tests (August 29th) proposed by the Republic of Kazakhstan in order to commemorate the closing of the nuclear testing polygon of Semipalatinsk on the same day of the year 1991 and the International Day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons (September 26th).

Communication has been and remains one of the pillars of our society, therefore it is no wonder that an international day has been dedicated to the mail itself (9th October) that recalls the creation of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 [5 ]. There is a special relationship between the UN and South Africa, as shown by the annual three days related to this country: International Day of solidarity with the struggling people of South Africa (June 16th), the Mandela Day (18th July, coinciding with his birthday) and the international day of solidarity with political prisoners of South Africa (October 11th).

Reading the various titles of international days, one gets full of goodwill and good wishes and tries to convince himself that all these days are in fact useful for the society. Until the Nov. 19th arrives and one finds out that it is the international day of the sink! Basically to indicate the importance of this element in the health of millions of people without access to basic services.

The year can not leave us without devoting a day to the industrialization of Africa (November 20th) to corruption!? and to the migrant, it certainly seems tailor-made. I miss a day to celebrate the Western exploitation of Africa, which would fit perfectly and would close properly the events of November-December.


Happy International Day of dreams and good intentions with high hopes that end up on almost anything.

Rosa Mª Torrademé






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