Celebrations mark World Day of Portuguese Language and Lusophone Cultures

Islamabad: The Embassies of Brazil and Portugal, in collaboration with Pakistani institutions have prepared plan to celebrate the 2024 World Day of the Portuguese Language and Lusophone Cultures in Islamabad and Lahore.

Ambassador of Portugal to Pakistan Frederico Silva and Ambassador of Brazil to Pakistan Olyntho Vieira co-authored a joint message to congratulate the lovers of the Portuguese language and to share information about the celebration.

World Day of the Portuguese Language and Lusophone Cultures prepared the programme in partnership with several Pakistani Universities, Aga Khan Culture Service and Alhamra Art Centre.

As a special guest, Guiomar de Grammont, a distinguished Brazilian author, dramatist, curator, and professor from the UNESCO-listed World Heritage city of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, will be visiting Pakistan.

In 2009, fifteen years ago, the CPLP – the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries – officially designated the 5th of May as the World Day of the Portuguese Language. Subsequently, in 2019, during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference, this day was further recognized as the World Day of the Portuguese Language and Lusophone Cultures. Those who speak Portuguese are referred to as “Lusophones” (lusófonos).

Portuguese, a neo-Latin language, holds a prominent position among the world’s languages today. Native to over 260 million people across nine countries spanning four continents (Portugal in Europe; Brazil in America; East Timor in Asia; Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Equatorial Guinea in Africa), it stands as the most widely spoken language in the Southern hemisphere.

Each of the nine countries within the CPLP contributes to the evolution of the language, imprinting it with distinct accents, local expressions, and cultural nuances. While Portuguese serves as a common language and heritage, there remains ample room for the development of each culture’s unique traits.

Renowned literary figures such as Fernando Pessoa in Portugal, Guimarães Rosa in Brazil, Mia Couto in Mozambique, and Pepetela in Angola exemplify the masterful and innovative use of the Portuguese language.

Presently, Portuguese is a prominent language in international communication, owing to its extensive geographical reach. Beyond the CPLP countries, it has historical or diaspora-driven significance in locations like India’s Goa, Daman, and Diu; China’s Macau; Spain’s Galicia; and various African, Latin American, Oceanian, and North American regions.

Since the early 15th century, the Portuguese language has voyaged across the seas, spreading from its European origins to diverse corners of all five continents. Just as the sea brings and takes, language is a shared construct. Many Portuguese words have found their way into numerous languages and dialects worldwide, including Urdu, while conversely, words from these languages and dialects have enriched Portuguese, such as “Shal” and “Oxalá” from Urdu.