Arabic Language Day: Beyond words, bridging cultures

Arabic Language Day Beyond words, bridging cultures  011
(Photos: Marwa Ismael, Jordan News)
With more than 300 million speakers worldwide, Arabic stands as the official language in 22 countries, fostering creativity and uniqueness with a rich vocabulary, including at least 11 words for love and contributing English words of Arabic origin.اضافة اعلان

Annually celebrated on December 18, International Arabic Language Day is dedicated to supporting and promoting linguistic and cultural diversity within the UN framework. Arabic, recognized as one of the official and working languages of the UN, is celebrated on this day. The decision to commemorate this occasion was adopted by the United Nations Department of Information Affairs, and the General Assembly officially introduced Arabic as a language. Additionally, Arabic holds official status in all Arab countries and is spoken by numerous residents in neighboring regions.

In Jordan, the celebrations took on added significance, particularly amidst Israel's war on Gaza. Many parents and students embraced this day not merely as a celebration of the language but as a tribute to their mother tongue, nativity, and the preservation of the culture it embodies. Zeenaty, initiated by Dar Al-Zenat for Publishing and Expansion in the Kingdom, focuses on teaching Arabic to kindergarten children and non-Arabic speakers, employing playful methods to make language learning enjoyable for kids.

Their approach involves using playful methods to make language learning enjoyable for kids. In collaboration with Learning Trail Nursery and Preschool, they held an event to honor Arabic Language Day and show solidarity with the children of Gaza and Palestine.

In an interview with Jordan News, Mais Saad, the owner of Zeenaty, said, “These activities are not just about celebrating the Arabic language; they are also about teaching kids to appreciate different cultures. By doing art that reflects Gaza’s heritage, kids can understand and show empathy for others.”

Arabic, Palestine, culture, and heritage
This year, Arabic Language Day holds special significance as organizers have curated diverse activities to celebrate Palestinian culture and heritage. Emphasizing the deep connection between the Kingdom and Palestine, Saad mentioned that the school will be adorned with the colors of the Palestinian flag and Arabic letters, with a special focus on learning traditional dabke.

And while many technological programs have taken over the learning process of languages, nursery director Mervat Ledawi highlighted “We don’t have any screens,” adding that part of their approach is returning to nature, so the classroom is even adorned with natural grass and even organic trees.

She also mentioned that, as part of its mission, the classroom incorporates a rule that encourages speaking Arabic exclusively. This ensures that children not only grasp the richness of the language but also immerse themselves in Arab and Jordanian culture.

“During this particular time of the year, the observance of International Arabic Language Day aligns with the unfortunate occurrence of the Gaza War. In response to this unique alignment, our objective was to organize and host a meaningful event in collaboration with Dar Al-Zenat, aimed at fostering language appreciation among children,” Ledawi added.

Meanwhile, at the Children’s Museum, another impactful initiative is underway to celebrate Arabic Language Day. True to its commitment to seize educational opportunities that foster pride in the Arab identity, the Children’s Museum has initiated a month-long series of activities in honor of Arabic Language Day. This falls under its 'community communication programs' umbrella, featuring a variety of engaging activities. Notably, these activities include creating a connection with events in Gaza in a manner that resonates with children, exemplified by the 'Palestinian Sunbird' activity—a delightful experience where colors change upon contact with the sun's rays, along with captivating story readings.

As this year’s Arabic Language Day coincides with Israel’s war on Gaza, the initiative takes an even more important role, including portions of sales from the books benefiting the people of Gaza, Saad added.

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