The UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) designated 21st March as “World Poetry Day” in its 30th General Conference held in Paris, from 26th October to 17th November 1999.
The resolution to celebrate 21st March as “World Poetry Day” was passed at the third plenary meeting of UNESCO on 27th October 1999 in Paris.
The decision was made at the end of the century with the view that holding a worldwide event dedicated to poetry will encourage and support regional, national and international poetic movements, apart from promoting linguistic diversity.
World Poetry Day 2019
World Poetry Day 2019 was observed on Thursday, 21st March 2019.
The day was celebrated by organizing various programs on poetry where renowned poets took part and shared their poetry in the event. There were many performances on the day comprising of reading and writing of poetry.
Tialia Kikon, who is a poet from Nagaland, was selected by the Writers International Network (WIN) for displaying her poems at the Moberly Arts & Culture Centre, Vancouver, Canada on the occasion of World Poetry Day. It was the second time that her work was displayed at the event – the first was in the year 2016.
Various competitions were also organized on the occasion where people were invited to take part in the competition and express their creativity through poetry. The best poetry was also awarded a prize in the event.
People shared their poems on various social media platforms on the occasion. Celebrities, poets and media persons also shared poems showcasing various issues in the society and the country.
When Is World Poetry Day Celebrated?
Though UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1999 made the declaration regarding celebrating 21st March as World Poetry Day, many counties have kept the tradition of celebrating their national or international poetry day coinciding with the birthday of an ancient Roman poet named ‘Publius Vergilius Maro’ a.k.a Virgil on 15th October.
The United Kingdom celebrates its National Poetry Day on the first Thursday of October.
How is Poetry Important?
Poetry is a form of literature, which has been used since time immemorial to express human conditions, desire, culture, suffering, etc and could also be used to encourage and inspire. It is an instrument that uses the rhythmic qualities of a language.
Poetry captures the creative side of and individual and helps him to express his personal experiences and inspire others in a rhythmic way. It has been an integral part of human civilization since ages; from hunting tribes in Africa to modern civilizations in Egypt all had been reading and writing poetry.
Poetry decreases the cultural gap by acting as a bridge between civilizations. It also acknowledges a particular culture and genre and helps in the preservation of both. It also acts as a natural stress-buster when one takes to express his/her pain by writing poetry.
Why Is World Poetry Day Celebrated?
World Poetry Day is celebrated to acknowledge the role of poetry in every culture and every country of the planet. The day celebrates poetry as the most valuable asset of humane cultures and languages. Every civilization has been practicing some form of poetry that has been integrated into its language and has become an identity of that particular culture.
World Poetry Day also admires the role of poetry in bridging cultural differences and bringing communities closer. The day also commemorates the poets for speaking out on cultural and social issues through poetry; inspiring and encouraging millions.
By adopting 21st March as the “World Poetry Day” UNESCO also admires the role poetry plays in promoting global peace and harmony.
The occasion of “World Poetry Day” also honors poets and brings back the old traditions of reciting poems, specific to a culture. It also encourages reading and writing of poetry and inspires its amalgamation with other art forms like – dance, music, theatre, etc.
How Is World Poetry Day Celebrated?
On World Poetry Day, poets from across the world share their views, knowledge, and works. Poetic events are organized, specific to a culture in which notable poets of that particular culture or language elaborate their work and express their views.
Many countries celebrate World Poetry Day on 21st March. The celebrations in most countries commemorate regional poetry and poets, with varied audiences ranging from an individual to government agencies, non-government organizations, members of civil society, poets, literature laureates, communities, etc.
Schools and colleges around the world organize programs to let the students acknowledge the role of poetry in bridging cultural gaps and also to admire various poets and their efforts to keep the culture and languages alive through poetry.
Many schools dedicate a classroom lecture on poetry, during which the children are taught about different forms of poetry and also get to know different poets.
Poets are invited for talks and conferences are held in a variety of places like – cafeterias, colleges, schools, auditoriums, and stadiums, etc. Poets even from across the borders are cordially invited to enrich people about their own books and also to express their views.
Awards are conferred to those who have contributed commendably in the field of poetry. Exhibitions are also organized at various locations, displaying the works by various national poets as well as poets from across the border.
Things To Do On World Poetry Day
World Poetry Day is not a public holiday; even then it is celebrated across the world with much enthusiasm with participants ranging from notable poets to not many popular poets. A variety of audiences from commoners to notable persons takes part in the celebrations. Below are some methods in which you could celebrate “World Poetry Day”.
1) Read and Write
Read poetry and also try to write it. This way you will not only admire poetry but also be able to express yourself in a more entertaining and rhythmic way. Reading or writing poetry will not only relieve your stress but also help you to connect to your roots.
2) Spread Awareness
Spread awareness about poetry and its various advantages from bringing communities closer to preserving culture and languages. Enlighten someone you know, by telling about various forms and advantages of poetry. You could also gift your family and friend a book by your favorite poet or ask them to write their own poetry.
3) Attend The Event
Keep a lookout for any gathering organized on “World Poetry Day”. Take out some time to attend the event and to listen to what poets have to say about their works, cultures, etc. Try to communicate with people and poets present, to know more about poetry and its forms.
4) Visit Exhibition
Visit the exhibition/s in your city to know about various poets and their works. Poetry exhibitions will also make you familiar with the work of poets from across the world and make you admire their work and efforts. You will also feel getting closer to other cultures across the world and also admire them.
There could be a poet or a publishing house in your locality that is struggling with the unavailability of funds. You can donate as per your will contributing to their revival and bringing them back on track. Donating for poetry is like donating to save your own culture and language and ensuring their longevity.
World Poetry Day Themes
The events of an occasion revolve around the central theme that is assigned to it. ‘Theme’ sets an objective for the organizers, participants, and audiences. Any topic relevant to the main issue is picked up as ‘theme’ for a national, international or regional event.
Many countries celebrating ‘National Poetry Day’ assign themes for the day, but UNESCO not necessarily assigns themes on “World Poetry Day”; however, that doesn’t deter the enthusiasm of UNESCO and its associates in promoting poetry worldwide.
- World Poetry Day Theme of 2017 – “Freedom”.