French Language Day

Observed annually on March 20th, French Language Day celebrates the French language, culture, and history. This holiday was created by the United Nations to celebrate one of the original Romance languages that descended from Vulgar Latin during the Roman Empire.

It is one of six languages celebrated by the United Nations. The other languages with official holidays are Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, and Spanish. Anyone wishing to observe this holiday can do so by enjoying French cuisine, culture, or literature at events worldwide.

The History of French Language Day

French Language Day was established by the United Nations Department of Public Information in 2010. It was created to celebrate cultural diversity and multilingualism and to promote the equal use of all UN-sanctioned languages throughout the organization.

March 20th was chosen because it marked the 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie—an organization whose members share the French language and espouse humanist values.

Important Facts About the French Language

Below are some important facts about the French language that we believe everyone can appreciate. We’ve scoured the entirety of the Internet and have come up with the following facts about this language. Let’s explore these factoids to see if we can learn anything new about French.

  • Gaulish and Old Frankish left a distinctive mark on the French language that was derived from Vulgar Latin.
  • There are over 220 million French speakers worldwide.
  • Approximately 45% of modern English words have their origins in French.
  • French, much like English, is an influential language in diplomacy.

Observing French Language Day

French Language Day is the perfect opportunity for people to learn French, enjoy French culture and history, or even savor some French food. It’s also a good day to watch and share your favorite French films on social media using the hashtag #FrenchLanguageDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
March 20 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
March 20 Thursday
Last year (2023)
March 20 Monday
Culture & History, United Nations