By- Kelli Drummer-Avendano
Parlez-vous français? Well, if you don’t already, now is the time to learn! Besides being able to communicate with almost 300 million people around the world who speak French, you’ll become familiar with the rich culture and customs of the Francophone countries. In 1988, as a way to celebrate the French language and culture, International Francophonie Day was created, known in French as Journée Internationale de la Francophonie.
The day is celebrated every year on March 20th, the day that the Niamey Convention was signed in Niger, establishing an organization representing countries and regions where French is spoken. Today, this organization is known as the International Organization of La Francophonie and has 88 member states and governments. Their purpose is to collaborate with one another on issues of culture, science, economy, justice, and peace.
So, how should you celebrate International Francophonie Day? For starters, you don’t have to limit the celebration to only one day, because the entire month of March is now known as Francophonie Month, and there are events taking place all over the world, from Québec to Chicago to South Africa.
Nevertheless, you can celebrate right at home by watching French-language movies and eating un baguette with good French cheese or fromage, such as brie or Roquefort. Likewise, it would be interesting to investigate what other countries speak French. For example, did you know that French is an official language of Vietnam? Or, that Réunion, an overseas department of France, is a small island off the coast of Madagascar? Learn about one of the over 25 countries that are Francophone and celebrate by listening to music that is popular there or eating traditional food.
However you decide to commemorate International Francophonie Day or Month, just know that there are millions of other Francophone lovers celebrating with you. Bonne chance!